This is the Remix!: When the Remix is Better than the Original

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Okay so P. Diddy didn’t actually invent the remix.

No shit.

He was probably not even born yet when Tom Moulton began doing dance remixes in the late 1960s, and wasn’t even ten years old by the time pioneering DJs and producers like Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott, Larry Levan, Shep Pettibone, and François Kevorkian were already deeply ensconced in remixing disco records. So, sorry, Diddy.

But it’s true that over the next fifteen to twenty years, particularly in the 1990s, Diddy and his Bad Boy Records production crew (aka The Hitmen) would have a hand in some truly great remixes, many of which were major improvements upon already popular songs from artists like 112, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Total, Usher, and Jennifer Lopez.

And it’s not just Diddy either — far from it. The remix has been prevalent in hip hop music since the genre’s inception, as DJs would essentially “re-mix” tracks (sometimes without even knowing what they were doing) by extending the breaks or most danceable portions of the records in order to satisfy the breakdancers and b-boys of the day. And the tradition of remixes in hip hop has stayed strong to this day — only growing stronger and more common with the advent of the mixtape (thanks DJ Clue, Green Lantern, Whoo Kid et al.) — as almost every track released seems to be followed by an “official” remix, along with a few other “unofficial” remixes (often just the same beat with a different rapper spittin’ on it) from various mixtapes and websites.

But what I’m most interested in is when the remix clearly becomes better and more popular than the original track itself, and not solely in the world of hip hop. Sometimes this means a complete overhaul of the track, as with Usher’s “Love In This Club (Part 2 Remix)” or “Everyone Nose” by CRS & Pusha T., and sometimes it just means adding some guest verses, as in Day26’s “Got Me Going” remix, which simply adds verses from Fat Joe and Rick Ross. (Note: the song is still lame, but not as lame).

So even though we’re not gonna hit them all — and they definitely won’t all come from the Bad Boy camp — I’d like to throw out some of the best examples of what I’m referring to, some classic, some current. Hopefully y’all can add some more to this list. Now this is not to say that the originals were bad in any way, most were already hot, just that they were eventually eclipsed by their respective remixes.

Okay, let’s get it:

112: “Only You” Original vs. “Only You” Remix

Mariah Carey: “Fantasy” Original vs. “Fantasy” Remix

Dru Hill: “In My Bed” Original vs. “In My Bed” Remix

Lil Kim: “Not Tonight” Original vs. “Not Tonight” Remix

Mary J. Blige: “Real Love” Original vs. “Real Love” Remix

Busta Rhymes: “Pass the Courvoisier” Original vs. “Pass the Courvoisier Part 2” Remix

Usher: “I Need a Girl” Original vs. “I Need a Girl Part 2” Remix

Aaliyah: “Are You That Somebody” Original vs. “Are You That Somebody” Remix

Justin Timberlake: “Cry Me a River” Original vs. “Cry Me a River” Remix

Big Punisher: “I’m Not a Player” Original vs. “Still Not a Player” Remix

Jagged Edge: “Let’s Get Married” Original vs. “Let’s Get Married” Remix

Kanye West: “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” Original vs. “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” Remix

Akon: “Ghetto” Original vs. “Ghetto” Remix

Fantasia: “When I See You” Original vs. “When I See You” Remix

Jennifer Lopez: “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” Original vs. “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” Remix

That’s all I got for now — a first installment let’s call it…..but maybe we’ll do a part 2 in a couple weeks once my brain returns to normal and we get some more suggestions from people

– Jonathan

2 Responses

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  1. You left out one of the greatest of all time. “Flava In Ya Ear” Craig Mack, LL, BIGGIE, BUSTA, RAMPAGE, come on now.


    June 2, 2008 at 5:37 am

  2. […] This is the Remix!: When the Remix is Better than the Original (Part 2) Posted in Uncategorized by Jonathan on June 3rd, 2008 A couple weeks ago we were successfully able to determine that Diddy did not in fact invent the remix. […]

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