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The Remix Report Card, Second Quarter 2014

If this were school, French Montana would be that guy in all your classes for the third year in a row.
June 28, 2014, 4:41pm

Have freestyles killed the official remix? So far this year it seems like the meme-like proliferation of unauthorized remixes over hot tracks of the moment (Nicki MInaj’s “Chiraq,” Drake’s “0-100,” Wiz Khalifa's “We Dem Boyz”) has generated more heat than the event posse cuts. Since the first quarter of 2014, French Montana has continued his inexplicable reign as the most frequent remix guest of 2012 and 2013. But a couple West Coast rookies are hitting the circuit heavy, along with the welcome return of a rappa turnt sanga turnt remix veteran.

“Cut Her Off (Remix)” by K Camp featuring Lil Boosie, YG and Too $hort

“Cut Her Off” has already been the subject of thinkpieces singling it out as one of the most overtly ugly rap hits about women in recent memory. As the benevolent godfather of rap misogyny, Too $hort’s appearance here then seems kind of symbolic, but in fact symbolic is exactly all it is: He ad libs a few words at the beginning and end of the song and yells “bitch” in that famous way he is known for over the chorus, but there’s no Short Dog verse. Lil Boosie and YG may not be notable feminists, but they’re at least more charismatic than the blank slate that is K Camp.

Best Verse: YG
Overall Grade: C+

“Drop That #NaeNae (Remix)” by We Are Toonz featuring T-Pain, French Montana and Lil Jon

The success of “Drop That #NaeNae” and other dance rap hits via Vine in the past year has felt like something of a throwback to the halcyon days of snap music and ringtone rap. So it’s appropriate that We Are Toonz drafted two icons of that era, Lil Jon and T-Pain, for the remix. And then there’s French Montana because there’s some kind of legally mandated Coke Boy quota going on with remixes these days. T-Pain has a long history of blessing flash in the pan artists with scene-stealing remix verses, including and and he does not disappoint here.

Best Verse: T-Pain
Overall Grade: B+

“Good Kisser (Remix)” by Usher featuring Rick Ross

Every now and again, an R&B song comes along with a beat hot enough that MCs flock to freestyle over it, and right now that song is “Good Kisser.” For the unofficial remix, though, Ursh’s camp unimaginatively just grabs some bars from the last rapper to guest on an Usher single. But maybe there’s somebody out there who still cares to hear every Rozay-by-numbers couplet like “My Spanish chick be on that Telemundo / Pretty face and she got the fattest culo.”

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: D

“Henny (Remix)” by Mack Wilds featuring Mobb Deep, French Montana and Busta Rhymes

Another remix that uses some veterans to evoke a bygone era, plus French Montana because French Montana. It’s officially weirding me out that we’ve sampled the beat from every 90s rap hit to death and now have moved onto so-so early 2000s hits like Mobb Deep’s “Burn.”

Best Verse: Busta Rhymes
Overall Grade: C+

“I Luh Ya Papi (DJ Khaled Remix)” by Jennifer Lopez featuring French Montana, Big Sean and Tyga

More evidence that the barrier for “throwback beats” has now moved into sometime in the early 2000s: This remix jacks Jay-Z’s “Hey Papi,” a record which I love dearly but is not exactly a bulletproof classic. French Montana’s verse from the original “I Luh Ya Papi” is reprised, just because it’s a remix and he’s French Montana. Big Sean does the kind of clumsy attempts at darting around the beat that got him so much hate on Drake’s “All Me,” and I strangely respect him for sticking to his guns.

Best Verse: Big Sean
Overall Grade: C-

“nEXt (Remix)” by Sevyn Streeter featuring YG

When Sevyn Streeter’s lovely, languid “nEXt” was initially released as a single a few months ago, the official video featured a version in which Kid Ink annoyingly ad libbed all over the damn song. The song doesn’t really need YG on it either, but he’s at least a more welcome replacement who manages to sound more natural on the track than I expected.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: C+

“Or Nah (Remix)” by Ty Dolla $ign featuring The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and DJ Mustard

Back in February, The Weeknd paid homage to his new contemporary in skeeved out sleazebag R&B, Ty Dolla $ign, by adding a verse to Ty’s Wiz collaboration from the Beach House EP. Now it’s an official remix with a video, so you can see Abel Tesfaye, who rarely appears in videos and even more rarely lip syncs, awkwardly deliver lyrics like “can you let me stretch that pussy out or nah?”

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: D

“Sex You (Remix)” by Bando Jonez featuring Twista, B.o.B and T-Pain

I’m always happy to hear Twista on a remix, but “Sex You,” as goofy and entertaining as it is, is exactly the kind of song that I’m totally tired of hearing Twista make. T-Pain, however, once again reaffirms my faith in him as a minor deity of the rap remix realm, singing along with the track’s distinctive bassline and letting loose hilarious lines like “She’s tryin’ to walk, lookin’ like a newborn baby/ Cause we been doing it constantly/ She looked at me and asked me if I do porn? Maybe.”

Best Verse: T-Pain
Overall Grade: A-

“Show The World (Remix)” by Lil Boosie featuring K. Michelle

One of the oddest things of Boosie’s post-prison career and his first burst of new music in 4 years is that his biggest single so far is an old track with Webbie that was released a few months before his sentence ended. Boosie decided to rectify that with a remix that, if nothing else, bolsters Kiara’s anonymous hook on the original track with some belting from K. Michelle. And having 2014 Boosie replace verses from circa 2009 Boosie really demonstrates the small ways his voice has deepened and weathered in the last few years.

Best Verse: n/a
Overall Grade: B

“Smoke, Drink, Break-Up (Remix)” by Mila J featuring Ty Dolla $ign, Kirko Bangz and Problem

Jhene’s sister’s got a great single with a killer beat, but for the remix she decided to actually switch up the track for something different and actually a little more generic than the original beat. It seems odd to put so much effort into redoing the track without getting some bigger names on the remix, though. How long is Kirko Bangz gonna ride out the wave of that one song?

Best Verse: Ty Dolla $ign
Overall Grade: B-

“Turn Down For What (Remix)” by DJ Snake & Lil Jon featuring Juicy J, 2 Chainz and French Montana

There was an odd moment this past spring when southern rap, which had been effectively pushed out of the upper reaches of the Hot 100 by pop radio’s growing indifference in recent years, crept back into the top 10 by the virtue of several crossover collaborations hitting at the same time: Juicy J on Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” 2 Chainz on Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” and of course Lil Jon on DJ Snake’s “Turn Down For What.” Now all three are united on a remix of the last song, which has the odd distinction of combining circa 2014 Atlanta slang with a star from ATL rap’s past over the kind of EDM beat that plunders Southern rap production trends of yesteryear. “Turn Down For What” always felt a little empty to me—it’s so close to just being a straight up rap song, but all it has is a hook—so hearing Juicy J and 2 Chainz on the beat really makes it finally feel complete to me. And then French Montana shows up at the end because congress wouldn’t sign off on the budget for the remix until he was involved.

Best Verse: Juicy J
Overall Grade: A-

“Up Down (Remix)” by T-Pain featuring Lil Boosie, Kid Ink and B.o.B

Once again, a remix with a whole new beat gets thrown to industry chumps like B.o.B and Kid Ink, who always seem to turn up on tracks they don’t deserve. But the DJ Montay track is great, Boosie puts his finger in a bootyhole, and T-Pain does one of those R. Kelly-style hooks that is just about the song being a remix.

Best Verse: Lil Boosie
Overall Grade: B

“Yayo (Remix)” by Snootie Wild featuring Fabolous, Jadakiss, YG and French Montana

“Yayo” is the slow burning regional hit that the critic Noz hilariously and accurately described as “a Kevin Gates record with the intelligence of a Rich Homie Quan record.” It went national a few months ago with a remix featuring Yo Gotti, but now we’ve got a proper posse cut on the remix to the remix. I have no problem with Fabolous and Jadakiss continuing to be perennial remix guests, although Fab’s dad jokes are starting to wear thin: “My n----s go all out/ I should call ‘em A.O.”? Seriously? When French shows up at nearly the 5-minute mark, he seems like even more of an afterthought than usual.

Best Verse: Jadakiss
Overall Grade: C+

Al Shipley doesn't hand out extra credit, either. He's on Twitter -

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Want more rap analysis? Check these out:

The Remix Report Card, First Quarter 2014

The Official Rap Slang Power Rankings

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