Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From '88 to right now, I was never broke.

Let me start by saying this is not a post like last week. I didn't scour the internet looking for an album that, while it had a sizable impact at the time of its release, faded into obscurity quickly afterwards. No, Mr. Man and Boo Bonic do not deserve that sort of dedication. Let's be real: these guys sucked. Lame voices, lyrics and just an overall unoriginal aesthetic makes it hard for me to tolerate these guys much. The main reason I'm paying them any attention is because they're from the Delaware Valley, and Power 99 will support any artist that comes out of there, even Ness from Da Band with his (terrible) single "My Hood." I remember being on the bus in high school and hearing "Cross the Border" at least once on the way to Princeton. The beat wasn't great, and the lyrics certainly didn't bring much to the table, but over and over again it'd get burn. I like the song mostly because of nostalgia, so imagine my surprise when a) I learned there was a remix and b) it was really, really good.

Both songs are produced by the Neptunes, and the "Cross the Border" remix has a completely different feel than the original. Gone are the cheesy fake Mexican guitars and offbeat horns on the chorus. Instead, we have a keyboard sound similar to "Superthug" paired with some great, vintage 'Tunes drum programming. This is easily one of their best beats.

One would think all this effort would get wasted by two lame and thankfully forgotten MCs (how they got so much support from the Neptunes near their peak, I will never understand), but there are all new verses and guest spots that steal the show. The first is Pusha T on the second verse. It's obvious he'd come a long way since "The Funeral," slowing down is flow while keeping the writing crisp. It serves as a good preview of what was to come on Lord Willin'. The second one is Fabolous. Someone should have told him early on to stick with this if he wanted any sort of status in the rap world, as songs like "Baby" and "Tit 4 Tat" just aren't doing it. It's not as good as "Breathe," but it's only one verse. Besides, any halfway competent rapper sounds golden next to these two clowns.

Here is the "Cross the Border" remix.

Here is a 2002 Clipse freestyle from Rap City over the same beat, and I think the origin of "Eghck"

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