The Winter Remix Report Card: Fresh Faces Like Lil Uzi Vert and A Boogie Join the Posse Cut Ranks

This quarter, “Spend It” and “New Level” get taken to new levels.
January 19, 2017, 7:42pm

A good song can come from anywhere. It's one of the driving forces of popular music, and particularly hip-hop, that moments of genius frequently arise where you least expect them. But all-star remixes are a place where the big names are drafted to take the reins. This time around, Young Thug hijacks Dae Dae's latest hit, R. Kelly blows a Justin Bieber vocal out of the water, and newer stars like Lil Uzi Vert and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie start hitting the circuit.

"Cam'ron Voice (Remix)" by Uncle Murda featuring Cam'ron

Uncle Murda just signed with G-Unit, but his recent buzzing singles nods to one of 50 Cent's old NYC rap rivals, Cam'ron, with dialogue from Cam's 2002 gangsta B movie classic Paid In Full. It's both sampled and awkwardly quoted by Uncle Murda with a Twitter-style "Cam'ron voice" announcement. So it was somewhat inevitable that Killa Cam himself would grace the song with a remix. But the sad fact is that the real Cam'ron voice isn't what it used to be, and he sounds about as worn out here as he has for the past decade.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: C-

"Close To You (Remix)" by Dreezy featuring Rick Ross and T-Pain

Rick Ross is well suited to the plush, opulent sound of the second single from Dreezy's excellent album No Hard Feelings. But after opening the track by noting "So exquisite, so expensive," he just sleepwalks through the usual Rozay word salad of exquisite and expensive brands for 14 bars, with a couple awkward open bars before Dreezy's voice comes back in.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: D

"CRZY (Remix)" by Kehlani featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

I'm a pretty big fan of the original "CRZY" and think it could've used a remix from a rapper of greater renown than That Boogie Who Wears A Sweatshirt, whose voice I wouldn't be able to pick out of a lineup of a dozen other D-list Auto-Tune rappers. That said, his verse on here is pretty good.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: B

"Forever Black America Again" by Common featuring Gucci Mane and Pusha T

The original "Black America Again," from Common's album of the same name, was a fairly overblown six-minute Stevie Wonder collaboration. The remixed version, "Forever Black America Again," smooths the beat out a little and adds a couple of MCs who inject considerable energy into the track. Guwop, as always, is amused and gleeful to show up on a track with someone you might not expect, beaming, "Gucci Mane and Common, did ya see this comin'?"

Best Verse: Gucci Mane
Overall Grade: B

"Gold (Remix)" by Kiiara featuring Lil Wayne

The reversed vocals that once made Missy Elliott's "Work It" a delightful novelty have now become a standard style of vocal manipulation in a certain strain of EDM pop, and it's never been more annoying than it is on Atlantic Records "trap pop" singer Kiiara's breakout hit. A Lil Wayne verse is the kind of thing that has the potential to redeem such a song, but Weezy is still rapping in that whiny faux Young Thug flow that manages to be even more irritating than the song's hook.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: D-

"Let Me Love You (Remix)" by DJ Snake featuring R. Kelly

Since that vicious rumor that Justin Bieber became a capable singer still persists, it's fun to hear someone with pipes like R. Kelly run circles around one of Bieb's biggest recent EDM collaborations.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: B+

"New Level (Remix)" by A$AP Ferg featuring A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, and Future

So few rappers bother to track new verses for remixes to their own singles now that I appreciate that A$AP Ferg puts in the effort, here and previously on "Work," to top his verse from the original and stay competitive with the featured stars. I lost count of how many times Lil Uzi says yeah.

Best Verse: A$AP Ferg
Overall Grade: B-

"Spend It (Remix)" by Dae Dae featuring Young M.A and Young Thug

Dae Dae's follow up to "Wat U Mean" isn't as big a hit, but it's spawned a strong candidate for the year's best remix. Thugger steals the track easily, but Dae Dae gets the A$AP Ferg award for doing his best with a new verse for the remix.

Best Verse: Young Thug
Overall Grade: A

"Tru (Remix)" by Lloyd featuring 2 Chainz

You could've guessed who was eventually going to rap on Lloyd's "Tru" as soon as he released the single last summer, and the remix doesn't disappoint, with Tity Boi turning up with his signature "truuuu" ad lib and a more reserved, introspective verse than usual.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: B

"Wait A Minute (Remix)" by Phresher featuring Remy Ma and 50 Cent

"Wait A Minute" is one of those Desiigner-era New New York hits that I never would've guessed actually came out of NYC, so it's fun to hear a couple of established NY voices on the remix. As often happens, everyone is speculating that Remy's shit talk on the verse is aimed at Nicki Minaj, but it's a pretty great verse with or without that context. "I'm Troy Ave with that tool, both hands on it like noon" is my favorite clock-themed punchline since Freck Billionaire's "I'm the best, hands down, like 6:30."

Best Verse: Remy Ma
Overall Grade: B

Al Shipley is a writer based in Maryland. Follow him on Twitter.