if you’re a true hip-hop head, there are three dates where you can probably remember where you were as though it happened yesterday – the date Tupac was murdered (September 13, 1996); the date Biggie was murdered (March 9, 1997); and the date that Jam Master Jay was murdered (October 30, 2002). And what makes these deaths more tragic is that their murders remain infuriatingly unsolved. Perhaps one day, their families may finally see justice…
This year marked the 17th anniversary of Biggie’s death but instead of commemorating a terrible day for hip-hpp fans and more importantly for his family; however, let’s celebrate Biggie’s life, his music and what his music has meant to hip-hop fans and music lovers across the globe. I can still remember, waiting for a friend of mine by the Haupwatche stop of the Frankfurt metro and hearing a vendor playing Biggie’s “One More Chance.” and how it immediately reminded me of home, and put a smile on my face.
Recently, the Dutch producer James McDurt paid tribute to one of hip hop’s greatest emcees by remixing and re-imagining some of Biggie’s most beloved and grittiest songs on The Brooklyn Way, a remix EP that reveals a loving but unified vision. McDurt’s remix of “Kick In The Door,” manages to seemingly mesh the “Go Brooklyn” sample of Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love,” with the hardest drum beats you’ll hear, to evoke the roughness of the world Biggie rhymed about. “My Downfall” is given an eerie but soulful beat, making the song seem haunted by what we now know was inevitable. McDurt’s remix of “Going Back to Cali,” re-envisions the song as a G-Funk era song with glistening synths and throbbing bass. And his remix of “Gimme Da Loot” evokes a sense of malice and menace.
Obviously, when you hear the EP, there are two MVPs here – McDurt for his masterful production but the most important MVP of the remix is Biggie himself. If anything the remix serves as a loving reminder of how talented Biggie was and how sad it is that he couldn’t contribute more to the world as an artist – and hip hop is a sadder, fucked up place without him. Man, the boy could just spit a flow over anything.