KMD & Grim Reaper : What A Nigga Know Remix (Elektra, 1994)
The main focus of this blog is not really remixes, but sometimes you may wonder what’s the definition of a remix after all ? Literally a remix is supposed to be a different mix of a song, you turn the bass up, add some percussion and flip the sample differently. Back in the 80s it was closer to arrangement than composition. Then in the early 90’s most hip hop remixers started to do beats out of scratch and just blended a cappellas over it. Then Sean Combs came and “invented” the remix, very usefull when you know your rapper won’t be around next year but you have a dope beat and you want to extended the longevity of the song. You just cast a bunch of free lance MCs to spit rhymes over the original music. But nowadays you hear remixes with different beat AND different lyrics, so I guess a remix can be anything.
This song is listed as the remix to What A Nigga Know. The beat has nothing in common with the original, the lyrics are totally different and MF Grimm appears as an uncredited guest on the song. I used to think that it was a typo, or a type of mistake on the 12” artwork, but it seems that this was not a song per se, but really another version of What A Nigga Know. OK, they don’t even say the words What A Nigga Know in the remix, but whatever… That particular song was one of the very first time we heard The Grim Reaper. If memory serves me correct this 12” dropped in april 1994, just a few weeks after Kurious’ album where Grim made his debut on “Baby Bust It”. The remix pitches a strong line from Gil Scott-Heron’s ballad “Pieces Of A Man” as a hook, not a surprise since the Black Bastard album was strongly influenced by spoken word.
I remember buying the record when it came out, and loved it so much that I used the instrumental to open my radio show for a whole year in 94/95, and from 95 I used a beat I made sampling the Constipated Monkey bassline. I was really expecting the album and I was really sad when someone told me they got dropped from Elektra over some artwork argument. I guess artwork was a very sensitive subject for WEA back then because they used the same reason to refuse to distribute more than a few records that same year.
I found a bootleg copy of the album during the summer of 1994 in London, and of course the so-called “remix” was not on it. However it was included as a bonus on the original official pressing of the album, released years later on Subverse.