Category: reworkings/reimagining

Ghent, Belgium-based electronic duo Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of 2019’s critically applauded David and Stephen Dewaele-produced Zandoli EP, which featured Paténipat” and “High Lights,” tracks that received airplay on UK Radio and were playlisted by  BBC Radio 6

Adigéry and Pupul’s official full-length debut as a duo, Topical Dancer was released earlier this year through Soulwax‘s own label DEEWEE. Co-written and co-produced by Soulwax and the acclaimed duo, Topical Dancer is deeply rooted in two things: The duo’s perspectives as Belgians with immigrant backgrounds with Adigéry proudly claiming Guadeloupean and French-Martinique ancestry — and the wide-ranging conversations the duo have had touching upon cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism, social media vanity, post-colonialism. 

While being a snapshot of their thoughts and observations of pop culture in the early 2020s, the album also further cements their sound and approach: They manage to craft thoughtful songs that bang hard but are centered around their idiosyncratic, off-kilter take on familiar genres take off familiar genres and styles. “We like to fuck things up a bit,” Pupul laughs. “We cringe when we feel like we’re making something that already exists, so we’re always looking for things to combine to make it sound not like a pop song, not like an R&B song, not a techno song. We’re always putting different worlds together. Charlotte and I get bored when things get too predictable.”  

And as result, Topical Dancer’s 13 songs are fueled by a restless desire to not be boxed in — and to escape narrow perceptions of who they are and what they can be. “One thing that always comes up,” Bolis Pupul says, “is that people perceive me as the producer, and Charlotte as just a singer. Or that being a Black artist means you should be making ‘urban’ music. Those kinds of boxes don’t feel good to us.” But they manage to do all of this with a satirical bent; for the duo it’s emancipation through humor. “I don’t want to feel this heaviness on me,” Charlotte Adigéry says. “These aren’t my crosses to bear. Topical Dancer is my way of freeing myself of these issues. And of having fun.”

In the lead up to the album’s release, I wrote about four of Topical Dancer‘s singles:

  • Thank You,” a sardonic, club banger featuring skittering beats, buzzing synth arpeggios and Adigéry’s deadpan delivery destroying mansplainers and unwanted, unsolicited and straight up dumb opinions and advice from outsiders. 
  • Blenda,” a club banger, centered around African-inspired polyrhythm, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats and Adigéry’s deadpan. Informed by Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, “Blenda” focuses on colonialism and post colonialism through Adigéry’s experience as Black immigrant in an extremely white place. 
  • HAHA,” a track built around a chopped up sample of Adigéry making herself laughed paired with twinkling synths, skittering beats and a relentless motorik groove that feels improvised and unfinished yet somehow simultaneously polished. 
  • Ceci n’est pas un cliché,” a slick dancer floor friendly bop centered around a strutting bass line, finger snaps, skittering beats and glistening synth arpeggios paired with Adigéry cool delivery of clichéd pop lyrics in a series of non-sequiturs that’s surreal yet displays a weird sense of logic.

The song’s title is a winking nods to one of the most copied sentences in art history, originally by Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte. “This song is an accumulation of all the cliché lyrics so often used in pop music. It came about when we were touring and heard a song on the radio opening with ‘I was walking down the street’ which made us strongly cringe,” the duo’s Charlotte Adigéry says. “But the thing is, cringing is a shared passion of Bolis and I. So we passionately made a song out of it called ‘Ceci n’est pas un cliché’. Even more passionately we performed ourselves into a video about all the clichés we see in the magic world of musical genres. The musician in all its glory, capturing momentum and delivering a top notch performance, gazing into the light that’s called inspiration. And so for once and for all, please leave Magritte alone…!”

The acclaimed Belgian duo shared Soulwax’s remix/reworking of “Ceci n’est pas un cliché” simply titled “Cliché.” Soulwax delivers a euphoric the on the Adigéry and Pupul original, pushing up the tempo and energy in a club banger centered around tweeter and woofer rattling four-on-the-floor paired with dense layers of oscillating synths and chopped up samples of Adigéry’s vocals. Much like the original, it’s surreal yet wildly accessible.

Acclaimed Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser — founding members Nadia Garofalo (vocals, keys) and Alicia Gaines (vocals, bass) along with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — can trace their origins back to when its founding members met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried into their band: Each member of the post punk outfit shares writing duties and they collaborate on every aspect of their creative work, including videos, album art, merch and the visuals which often accompany their live shows. 

Ganser’s 2018 full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance, intimacy and avoidance. 

2020’s sophomore album, the critically applauded Just Look at That Sky found the members of Ganser thematically probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chorus — all while evoking an all to familiar manic worry and generalized sense of existential dread and doom. It’s an album that seems to accurately captures our slow-burning, omnipresent hellscape. 

Besides last year’s Look at That Sky Remixes EP, the Chicago-based JOVM have been busy working on new material — including their Angus Andrew co-produced, three-song Nothing You Do Matters EP.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “People Watching,” a woozy and expansive ripper that begins with a slow-burning and atmospheric, bass-driven intro before quickly morphing into a feverish thrash featuring slashing guitar attack, relentless four-on-the-four and squiggling bursts of electronics paired with Garofalo’s seething, irony-drenched delivery. 

Arguably the most tense and uneasy song of their growing catalog, “People Watching” captures the mad and desperate senselessness —of well, just about everything right now. 

LIARS’ creative mastermind Angus Andrew recently gave “People Watching,” the remix treatment — and the LIARS remix is bold and mind-bending rework that retains the propulsive energy, rhythm and acerbic vocal delivery of the original but transform the song into a kaleidoscopic, funhouse from hell-like club banger that sounds much like a garbled transmission beamed down from a UFO 20,000 light years away.

“We had worked on the original recording of ‘People Watching’ together at Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI so I was already super entwined with the song,” Andrew explains. “That familiarity gave me a lot of freedom with the remix. My goal was to maintain the great momentum and vocal delivery of the initial recording, but just give it all a big kick in the butt with synths.”

Nothing You Do Matters EP is slated for an October 5, 2022 digital release and a December 2, 2022 vinyl release through Felte Records.

New Audio: TRY Shares Hazy Rework of “Silence”

TRY is a new music project featuring:

Born during a terrifyingly uncertain and perilous time, the project was formed as a way to provide uplift and optimism, with the project’s members actively choosing the path of light. And while they choose to find the beauty of the human experience, they acknowledge the world’s flaws and ugliness. We wanted to make something that sounded timeless, and we figured that out as we went along – music that provided a visceral energy,” Shmuck the Local explains.

The duo’s full-length debut will be released in three parts, respectively titled Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three. The album will feature an impressively varied cast of musical and artistic collaborators, who will further fuel their impossible-to-pin-down sound while bringing positive energy and vibes. The end result is an album that’s sonically diverse with the material spanning 2step, trap, house music and synth pop — among others. “We have very eclectic taste, and the record reflects that,” Spiegel says.  

Last month, the duo released Chapter One of their full-length debut. Chapter One featured guest spots from EARTHGANG, Camden, and Miette Hope. Building upon the buzz of those early tracks, the duo will share a collection of Chapter One remixes including a Couros remix of “End of Times,” the duo’s rework of “Aphrodite Part II,” which features a guest spot from Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Killah Priest — and the remix collection’s latest single “Silence (Redux).”

Chapter One track “Silence” feat. Camden and Miette Hope is an infectious banger centered around a feel good, Larry Levan-meets-Ibiza-like production of glistening synths, wobbling tweeter and woofer rattling low end, skittering beats and an infectious hook serving as a sinuous and silky bed for Camden and Hope’s sultrily vulnerable deliveries. The duo’s rework of “Silence” retains the glistening synths and vulnerability of the original — but their rework turns the song into a hazy, Quiet Storm-infused, lo-fi hip-hop affair, featuring tweeter and woofer rattling thump.

The remix collection is slated for a Friday release, so be on the lookout, y’all.

Throughout this site’s 12 year history, there have been few artists that I’ve written about as much as the awe-inspiring, ridiculously prolific, New York-based producer, DJ remixer and JOVM mainstay Rhythm Scholar. During that same period, the JOVM mainstay has built a national and international profile for slickly produced, crowd-pleasing mashups and remixes.

The JOVM mainstays’ latest single is a thorough and woozy rework of Kriss Kross‘ 1992 classic “Jump” that features 43 samples, including the introductory chords to Van Halen‘s 1984 classic hit “Jump,The Jackson Five’s “ABC,” Super Mario Brothers, House of Pain‘s 1992 classic “Jump Around,” Ice Cube‘s “Jackin’ For Beats,” Public Enemy‘s “B Side Wins AgainAretha Franklin‘s “Jump To It,” Kriss Kross’ “I Missed the Bus” and a host of others while retaining the duo’s brash, youthful vocals.

The end result gives the original a fresh spin while putting in a completely new light and context.

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays Ibeyi Teams up with BERWYN on a Swaggering and Impassioned Re-Imagining of Black Flag Anthem

Deriving their name from the Yoruba word for twins ibeji, the acclaimed French-Cuban, London-based twin sibling duo and JOVM mainstays Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee) — Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz — can trace the origins of their music career to growing up in a deeply musical home: their father, Anga Diaz, was best known for his work as a member of the intentionally acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club and for collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Compay Segundo. Anga died when the twins turned 11.

After their father’s death, Lisa-Kainde and Naomi began studying Yoruba folk songs and the cajon, an Afro-Caribbean drum that the twins’ father played throughout most of his career. Interestingly, although Yoruba is primarily spoken in Nigeria and Benin, the African language has been spoken in some form in Cuba since the 1700s, when the slave trade brought Africans en masse to the Caribbean. So when the twins started studying their late father’s musical and culture heritage, they had a deeper understanding of their father and of their ancestral history.

Ibeyi’s 2015 self-titled debut was released to widespread, international critical applause. Thematically, the album dealt with the weight of the past — in particular, their father’s life and death, their relationship with each other, their origins and their connection with their roots. Sonically, the album saw the Diaz Sisters quickly establishing a unique sound with elements of electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues and Yoruba folk music.

The French-Cuban JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album 2017’s Ash saw them writing songs firmly rooted in Afro-Cuban culture and history — but while arguably being among the most visceral, politically charged material of their catalog to date, with the album’s material thematically touching upon race, gender and sexual identity. 

Slated for a May 6, 2022 release through XL RecordingsSpell 31, Ibeyi’s third album derives its title from “Spell 31” in The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, which interestingly enough became the premise of the album’s first single “Made of Gold,” a lushly textured song featuring atmospheric synths, buzzing bass synths, skittering tweeter and woofer rattling beats, the twins’ gorgeous and dreamy harmonizing and a guest spot from Gambian-British emcee Pa Salieu.

When the twins returned to the studio to write and record new material, they had felt a sense of chaos, informed by the chaotic state of the world surrounding them. As they got to work, they set out to invoke the age-old teachings of their ancestors to remobilize the power of their birth-given destiny as Ibeyi. 

The album reportedly sees the twins on a path to restoration in pursuit of true harmony, healing and magic — all of which, we desperately need right now. The JOVM mainstays commissioned activist and storyteller Janaya Future Khan to write an essay for them, after meeting the activist and storyteller. Khan explains “Ibeyi’s Spell 31 is their boldest offering yet, an antidote to apathy in a divided world.” They explain further, “Spell 31 casts with conviction, transmuting nihilism into sangoma, binaries into endless dualites, moral austerity into abundance. A subversive and halcyonic manifesto from queens of a sovereign land, Ibeyi occupies the liminal, the space between life and death, past and present, right and wrong, and calls for the interior revelations that create the systemic revolutions we long for.”

Continuing their successful collaboration with their long-time producer Richard Russell, Spell 31‘s 10 songs were written, produced and recorded by the duo and features appearances from Jorja SmithBERYWN, the twins’ father and mother, and the aforementioned Pa Salieu. The album also features a reimagining of Black Flag‘s “Rise Above.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album track “Sister 2 Sister.” Centered around a hyper-modern production featuring wobbling bass synths, skittering beats, glistening synths and the twins’ uncanny and gorgeous harmonizing, “Sister 2 Sister” is inspired by their Afro-Latin roots and their sisterhood: The song sees the twins recalling a fond memory of singing along to Shakira in the mirror. But they also talk of the knowledge that despite the times they might be at odds with other, they know they can always depend on and rely on each other.

Spell 31‘s latest single sees the JOVM mainstays re-imaging Black Flag‘s 1981 anthem “Rise Above” that features a guest spot from London-based artist BERWYN. Having never heard the song before, Lisa-Kainde and Naomi were presented the song’s lyrics by their producer Richard Russell. They quickly got to work, looping an old sample of their father drums, improvising a completely new sonic take for a song originally written back in the 80s, that still resonate now.

Centered around stuttering, reverb-drenched beats, buzzing bass synths, the Diaz Sisters soulful and impassioned delivery, the Ibeyi take on “Rise Above” still calls out the rich and powerful, who control us — and young people’s desire to stand up and make a new, fairer world. BERWYN delivers a fiery guest verse in which he says “if the revolution is now, I’m the first to join in the fight!” The collaboration between the JOVM mainstays and BERWYN manages to make a vital connection between punk rock, hip-hop and Black Lives Matter — reminding the listener that the struggles of punks in the 80s are the pretty much the same as BLM today.

“We read the lyrics and we immediately felt their relevance to how we felt about the world in its current state,” Lisa-Kainde Diaz explain sin press notes. “We got to work on the melody and had the full song done in 5 minutes. Jorja Smith heard the track and told us we had to get BERWYN on the song. We had him by the studio to listen to the full album. I left to make tea, upon returning to the studio BERWYN had already written his verse for “Rise Above,” before he had even finished listening to the album. We knew we had something special, what a gift!”

New Audio: Joseph Shabason’s Trippy Re-work of Absolutely Free’s “How to Paint Clouds”

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop outfit Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach. 

Their full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

Over the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. Adding to a growing profile they’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and they’ve shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch was released last year through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.”

Culling from a myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

I managed to write about three of the album’s singles:

  • Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of  Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.”
  • Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix. The end result is a song that — to my ears, at least — sounded like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens. 
  • Epilogue,” a slow-burning and reflective track that slowly builds into a maximalist crescendo towards its conclusion centered around a lush, New Wave-like arrangement featuring glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats, a relentless motorik groove paired with King’s achingly plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. But underneath the breezy and expansive arrangement, “Epilogue” managed to possess a wistful, melancholy air.

Because of their exploratory approach, the members of Absolutely Free have revisited Aftertouch album track “How to Paint Clouds” with How to Repaint Clouds, an eight-track remix effort using on MIDI (Multi-Instrument Digital Interface) files — a digital language that contains harmonic and rhythmic blueprints, but no actual recordings.

“The song’s lyrics reflect upon the transcience of taste and how an artist’s feelings toward their work change over time,” the band says. “When a musician revisits their old songs, new interpretations are informed by changing contexts and evolving preferences. We wanted to stray from traditional modes of remixes based upon manipulating a song’s individual audio tracks, to provide the arftists with an unusual freedom from the original material, to create new sounds and reassemble the motifs of the song.”

The eight remixes interpret the track’s original structures untethered from its instrumentation, across a diverse aesthetic range from dark techno to psych rock. The first remix by Toronto-based musician Joseph Shabason turns the song into an otherworldly, woozy and ambient, New Age-like meditation centered around distorted saxophone bleats paired with twinkling synths.

How to Repaint Clouds is slated for a May 5, 2022 release through Boiled Records and will arrive with a tactile rendering: 20 one-of-a-kind AI-generated cloud painting turntable slipmats.

Live Footage: Luke James with Nu Deco Ensemble, Samoht and Sensei Bueno Perform a Gorgeous Re-Imagining of “shine on”

Luke James (born Luke James Boyd) is a New Orleans-born singer/songwriter and actor, whose musical career started in earnest as a background vocalist for Tyrese, along with a classmate Quentin Spears. While with Tyrese, James and Spears met acclaimed production outfit The Underdogs, who worked with and mentored the duo, who performed, wrote and recorded as Luke & Q.

Through his connection with The Underdogs, the legendary Clive Davis signed James to J Records, where he wrote material for Chris Brown, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. But by 2011, he released his debut mixtape, #Luke, which featured the critically acclaimed single “I Want You.” “I Want You” eventually earned James a Best R&B Performance Grammy nomination. He followed that up with his sophomore mixtape 2012’s Whispers in the Dark and his 2014 self-titled, full-length debut.

Since the release of his full-length debut, James released “Drip,” which was later remixed by A$AP Ferg and his critically applauded, breakthrough sophomore album, last year’s to feel love/d. The album which featured guest spots from BJ The Chicago Kid, Ro James, Big K.R.I.T., Kirk Franklin and Samoht, and production by Danja, Cobaine Ivory, Guitarboy, and Sir Dylan received a Best R&B Album Grammy nomination. The album helped James earn his third Grammy nomination while being the only independent release album in the category to land a nomination.

As an actor, James played Johnny Gill in BET’s 2017 TV biopic The New Edition Story. He has appeared in the Regina Hall and Will Packer film Little. He played Noah Brooks in FOX’s Star and he’s appeared in HBO’s smash hit series Insecure, as well as BET’s The Bobby Brown Story. Last year, he was in the third season of Showtime’s The Chi.

The multiple Grammy nominee will star in the Broadway play, Thoughts of a Colored Man, which will open at The John Golden Theatre on October 31, 2021 and run through March 2022. The limited engagement will be the first new play to open on Broadway in almost two years, as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns. The play explores a single day in Brooklyn with seven Black men discovering the extraordinary together through a blend of spoken word, slam poetry, rhythm and humor.

Adding to a busy year, James teamed up with Sam Hyken, Jacomo Bairos and their Miami-based 30 member orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble on A Live Sensation, a live re-imagining of his Grammy nominated sophomore album to feel love/d.

Slated for release on Friday, A Live Sensation was recorded at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and was originally broadcast exclusively on BET as a benefit concert for the NAACP’s Backing the B.A.R. Initiative, with donations and funds going towards Black-owned bars and restaurants hurt as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns.

A Live Sensation will feature nine tracks from the live performance, which sees James blend his soulful vocals with Nu Deco Ensemble’s orchestral sound. The album features guest spots from Sensei Bueno and Samoht.

“‘A Live Sensation’ is a raw orchestral expression inspired by the verb: love. It is a live recorded offering to the world, taken from a film inspired by love,” Luke James says of the new album. Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder and conductor, and collaborator Jacomo Bairos adds “It feels cosmically aligned to once again collaborate with our friend – the sensational and truly creative Luke James. We all recognized his unbelievable talent as well his generous and collaborative spirit when we first met years ago, so to have him return to collaborate on a project that highlights his unique vision through his GRAMMY nominated album on such a dynamic and creative project simply means the world to us. We are blessed to share this moment together, bringing more beautiful and meaningful music experiences to such a wide audience.” 

A Live Sensation‘s latest single is a re-imagining of to fee love/d‘s “shine on,” that pairs James’, Samoht’s and Sensei Bueno’s soulful and achingly vulnerable vocals with a breathtakingly gorgeous arrangement of soaring strings, shimmering guitar and twinkling Rhodes. The end result is a song that sounds enormous yet deeply intimate, while yearning heavenward with a rare, but profound sincerity.

New Video: Redman Contributes to Posthumously Released Third Version of Phife Dawg’s and Illa J’s Loving Ode to Montreal

Born Malik Izaak Taylor, the legendary and beloved Phife Dawg was a co-founder of the multi-Grammy Award nominated, multi-platinum selling, equally legendary and beloved hip-hop act A Tribe Called Quest. Along with his work with Tribe, Phife Dawg was a solo artist, who collaborated with lengthy lists of acts and artists including Fu-Schnickens, Diamond D, Chi-Ali, Black Sheep‘s Dres, De La Soul‘s Trugoy and countless others, eventually releasing his solo debut album, 2000’s Ventilation: Da LP.

If you’re a hip-hop head, you’d remember that the members of A Tribe Called Quest — Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad — reunited in 2006 to help Phife Dawg with mounting medical expenses as a result of complications with diabetes. They co-headlined that year’s Bumbershoot Festival and played a handful of sold-out across across the States, Canada and Japan, including making appearances at the 2K Sports Bounce Tour. According to Phife Dawg, the members of the beloved hip-hop had planned to release an album to finish-off their six-album contract with Jive Records.

008, A Tribe Called Quest was the headlining act for that year’s Rock the Bells tour. Taylor, who had been dealing with complications from diabetes over the past decade, wound up receiving a kidney translate from his wife. At the end of the that year, Q-Tip released his long-awaited sophomore album The Renaissance, which he followed with the release of 2009’s Kamaal The Abstract, which had been shelved for over seven years.

Tribe co-headlined 2010’s Rock the Bells and that year, Taylor had planned to release his highly-anticipated sophomore album Songs in the Key of Phife: Volume 1 (Cheryl’s Big Son); however, continued health issues delayed the release of the album. In 2013, it was reported that Phife had went back to work on his sophomore album, which was re-titled MUTTYmorPHosis. During that same period, the tense relationship between the act’s co-founder was famously documented in Michael Rapaport’s 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

rs of A Tribe Called Quest reunited to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the act’s debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. In what would be the last few months of his life, Taylor had been incredibly busy: he had finished his long-anticipated sophomore album, now titled Forever, collaborating with a collection of trusted, All-Star producers and artists. Additionally, Tribe had secretly gone into the studio to work on what would be their sixth and final album We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service. Tragically, Taylor died as the entire group were finishing the album; the remaining members finished the album and posthumously released the album, as a tribute to their co-founder.

ily and estate will be finally releasing Phife Dawg’s long-awaited sophomore album Forever later this year. “He worked really hard to complete his album before he transitioned, and he was ready to share an album that was near and dear to his heart with his fans,” Taylor’s family says of the album. “His fans meant the world to him.” So far, one single has been released from the album, “Nutshell, Part 2,” featuring Busta Rhymes and Redman — and as a taste of the album, it’s a classic New York hip-hop banger, in which three legendary emcees spit bars and trade zingers over a subtle DJ Rasta Root reworking of a J. Dilla production.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “French Kiss Deux,” which found the beloved and legendary “Five Foot Assassin” teamed up with Vancouver-based production duo Potatohead People and J. Dilla’s younger brother Illa J on a tribute to one of my favorite cities, Montreal that featured the two emcees trading verses admiring the city’s beautiful women and scenery over a subtle Potatohead People remix of the original. The end result is a vibey J. Dilla-like Golden Era hip-hop production centered around shimmering Rhodes, reverb drenched horns and twitter and woofer rocking beats. It’s an infectious, feel good banger — that for me brings back some fond memories of the Quebecois city.

Phife’s estate released a new version of French Kiss, “French Kiss Trois,” which features a new guest verse with the legendary Redman, who helps to build upon a loving ode to Montreal. The third installment came to life when Redman heard “Deux” back in May and fell so deeply in love with the song that he desperately wanted to become a part of a new version of the song.

Redman’s guest verse sees the legendary emcee alternating between hilariously crude while joking about finding a girl that would be comfortable enough to fart in the tub near you, and ask if she wants to watch wrestling or boxing. But simultaneously, Red manages to paint a loving picture of a strong, confident, down to earth woman — the sort of woman that straight men would consider themselves profoundly lucky to find. Maybe that woman can be found in lovely Montreal, right?

“It’s dope to see the evolution of this song, from the first version on my album Illa J to Phife’s version, to 6 years later Potatohead people doing a sick remix of the track, and now Redman adding a verse to it, with Ali Shaheed on the mix,” Illa J says in press notes. “It’s an honor having a track with 2 hip-hop legends on it, this one will always be a special joint for me.”

“When Red called my phone and told me that he had ‘French Kiss Deux’ on repeat, I knew what was coming next,” Dion “Roots” Liverpool adds. “Hedidn’t even have to ask me and I was excited. Once he sent me a video of his computer and pressed play, I remembered yelling really loud!!”

day Dion called and said that Redman had French Kiss on repeat and immediately wrote a verse, I was excited. Phife would be going crazy with Red being on this song,.”Phife’s wife Deisha Taylor shares. “Anytime you hear Redman on any track you know it will be dope. The atmosphere and energy shifts when he is on any song or walks in the building.”

“As soon as I heard the song, I played it back-to-back 100 + times. I had to hit Potatohead People and Dion to tell them I was writing a verse,” Redman says. “Being in the music video was amazing, and I know I’m doing it for Phife. I don’t think he gets enough credit, so God made this my mission to help best way I can.”

Executive produced by Phife Dawg’s longtime friend and collaborator, Dion “Roots” Liverpool and co-directed by Redman, Tony Reames and Konee Rock, the recently released video for “French Kiss Trois” follows Redman and Ill J in Montreal, admiring and hanging out with the city’s beautiful women — at beautiful locations. The video, features some gorgeous animation of Phife and a special guest appearance from Phife’s widow Deisha Taylor, lovingly reminiscing over photos of her husband. The video ends with the group coming together to celebrate and honor Phife’s life and work.

Virak is a rapidly rising house DJ and producer. Since 2006, Virak has spun in some of the world’s most prestigious and important bars and clubs, frequently sharing bills with Sven Vath, Marco Carola, Richy Ahmed, and others:

As a producer, he has released a handful of singles through a number of different labels, including the attention-grabbing “Sugar,” which was released through Adesso Music.

Born Vito Lucente, the Italian-Belgian house music and producer and DJ, best known as Junior Jack has had a lengthy career that traces back to the 90s: Lucente’s earliest days features collaborations with Eric Imhauser crafting Eurodance and with synth pop/hip-hop act Benny B.

By 1995, Lucente abandoned Eurodance and began experimenting with house music under the moniker Mr. Jack, which would morph into Junior Jack. Lucente had quickly amassed enviable success with a handful of UK Top 40 singles that included “My Feeling,” “Thrill Me (Such A Thrill),” “E Samba,” “Dare Me (Stupidisco) and “Da Hype,” which featured guest vocals from The Cure‘s Robert Smith. Lucente’s Junior Jack debut Trust It was released to critical acclaim.

While developing a reputation for crafting smash hits, Lucente simultaneously developed a reputation as a remixer, reworking songs by Whitney Houston, Moby, Bob Sinclar and Utada among others.

Lucente’s fifth release on his Adesso Music label finds the Italian-Belgian house music producer and DJ reworking Virak’s “Sugar.” Centered around skittering beats and percussion, shimmering synth arpeggios, a motorik groove and soulful vocals and a euphoric hook, the Junior Jack rework of “Sugar” is a sultry, deep house take on the original — with a crowd pleasing accessibility.