Posts Tagged ‘ready to die

11
Oct
08

Albums That Need to Be Reissued

There’s nothing asshole label heads love more than reissuing old albums they somehow scored the rights to, forcing you to dig deep into your pockets for a Jackson just to hear an “alternative mix” with a different snare. How exciting!

It’s true, reissues generally add nothing to classics (Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On) at best, and corrupt masterpieces at worst (Michael Jackson, Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition). But I’m confident that this could be rectified by sitting these label execs the fuck down and schooling them on what albums they actually need to be reissuing, instead of just dragging out the 15th Thriller reissue.

What follows is a list that does just such a thing. Now get on it!

Schoolly D Schoolly D / Saturday Night! The Album

What, the founder of gangsta rap don’t get no love? Both of these albums are out-of-print and impossible to find unless you get a bootleg or drop 100 big ones on eBay for some old-ass, beat up copies.

It’s ridiculous that young heads can’t get a legit copy of the album with “PSK What Does It Mean?” and “Gucci Time” on it. I hear shifty-ass Jive Records may have reissued them a while back, but without all of Schoolly D‘s tracks, and with the two albums all mixed together out of order.

Fuck that, release a 2 disc set, make the first disc Saturday Night! and the second disc Schoolly D. Or, if you can’t afford to press that up, do like the Amerikkka’s Most Wanted /Kill At Will reissue and just put the two albums on the same disc, but in the right order.

Come on, this is a hip hop legend, sampled by the likes of the Beastie Boys, The Notorious BIG, and Jim Jones.

He’s relevant, he’s talented. Reissue these.

Ice-T Power

Ice-T is a beast, and this is far and away his strongest effort. However, it has a huge, gaping hole right in the middle of it. Colors, Ice-T’s best song aside from 6 N The Morning, doesn’t appear on any of his studio albums, just his greatest hits collection and the Colors soundtrack (good luck finding that). There isn’t a better album to put it on than Power – they have the same punchy, funkadelic synths and smoothed-out Ice-T flow.

Sure, it’s only one bonus track, but if you’ve heard Colors, you know that that the addition of that one track would elevate Power from classic to masterpiece.

One thing, though: you can’t just tack it on at the end of the album, that would fuck up the story told in the intro and outro. Put it between “Girls LGBNAF” and “High Rollers,” maybe?

Snoop Doggy Dogg Doggystyle / Over the Counter

Death Row’s dropped two Doggystyle reissues already, but they didn’t do it proper. All of the skits are mixed into the songs (incredibly frustrating, trust me), and Gz Up, Hoes Down is nowhere to be found (actually, it was nowhere to be found after early pressings). It’s sort of nice to know that I own the best version of Doggystyle around (purhcased on eBay), but at the same time, it sucks that the world can’t enjoy this classic like it should.

And I’m sure I’m not the only Snoop fan fiending for his unreleased debut album, Over the Counter. All we got is a 5-track bootleg of it. Give us the full thing on a second disc, maybe tack on all those Doggystyle outtakes floating around YouTube, too.

Whoever it is bought (buys?) the rights to Death Row’s catalogue owes it to hip hop to make this happen.

It’s already been reissued, but after hearing the recently leaked OG Edition, I’m sold on the idea of another go at it. I’m sure Puff would be up for it, since money’s involved. Maybe he could buy his jet back.

What else deserves a proper reissue? Talk on it.

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31
Jul
08

Ready to Die (OG Edition) vs. Ready to Die (Standard Edition)

On the left is the “OG Edition” and on the right is the remaster from a few years back of Biggie Smalls’ hip-hop masterpiece “Ready to Die.” The Mixtape Marvel recently dropped the OG Edition, which is allegedly how Biggie intended it to sound, before sample clearances and things of that nature. Most of these versions have been floating around for a while, but, to my knowledge, this is the first time they have been released collectively.

Which is better, the regular edition or the OG edition? I’m going to compare the two track-for-track. Whichever has the better version of each song gets one point. In the event of a tie, both albums will get a point. At the end, I will compare the OG Edition’s bonus tracks to the remaster’s bonus tracks, and the album with the better bonus tracks will get two points.

Note that not all of the R2D songs appear on the OG edition, notably Big Poppa and Unbelievable. I will ignore Big Poppa, but will compare Unbelievable to Whatchu Want, which is in its place.

The OG edition can be downloaded here or here. You should buy the original Ready to Die, but, strictly for informational purposes, it’s available for download here.

 

THINGS DONE CHANGED

One of my favorite tracks from R2D. The OG Edition doesn’t offer anything new, but the mixing is a little off, some of the elements seem to be mastered into the background. The original is slightly better.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 0

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 1

 

GIMME THE LOOT

The only real difference here is that the OG Edition is uncensored, which makes the song infinitely better. It’s just not the same song if you can’t hear BIG threatening “pregnant bitches.”

Ready to Die OG Edition: 1

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 1

 

MACHINE GUN FUNK

This is the first track that significantly varies from the standard song, this time replacing the beat. The standard edition is easily better, the OG version being little more than a piano loop over drums, whereas the standard version packs funky horns and masterful scratching. The OG version is not without its charm, though. It’s also worth noting that the OG edition has the uncensored lyric “…for the jackers, the jealous ass crackers and the blue suits, I’ll make you prove that it’s bulletproof,” whereas the standard edition censors “blue suits” by overlapping a wailing police siren.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 1

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 2

 

WARNING

I honestly can’t tell the difference between the two songs, although my computer tells me that the OG edition is four seconds shorter. Oh, well. Tie.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 2

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 3

 

READY TO DIE

This one, like Machine Gun Funk, is a personal favorite of mine that has a completely different beat. Also, like Machine Gun Funk, the OG Edition is much more minimal, consisting of far less layers of music. The main problem with the OG Edition is that all of the scratching in the intro and chorus are missing, and the organs are changed. And those were the best parts of the standard song.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 2

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 4

 

ONE MORE CHANCE

The OG edition is basically the same song, except its not mastered, so it sounds shittier.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 2

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 5

 

THE WHAT

This one has a different intro by BIG, which I greatly appreciated since I always thought BIG’s intro on the original was one of his weakest rhymes, although I did enjoy how we rhymed “Feels on a bitch” with “Shields on the dick.”

Ready to Die OG Edition: 3

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 5

 

JUICY

The OG Edition has “Pete Rock’s Version,” which means that Pete Rock took Juicy, gave it shittier drums, fucked with the sample, and completely killed its feel-good vibe that I loved so much. Avoid the OG version of this at all costs. Especially if you’re high, in which case it will kill your buzz instantly.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 3

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 5

 

EVERYDAY STRUGGLE

Like One More Chance, the OG Edition’s “Demo Mix” is basically the standard song, except in shittier quality.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 3

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 6

 

ME & MY BITCH

The OG version has a slightly different beat  and chorus. I could go either way; tie.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 4

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 7

 

RESPECT

The OG version is billed as having a different beat, but the only real difference is Diana King’s singing bit at the end, where the OG version cuts the beat down to the drums and the standard edition just keeps looping the beat. I prefer how the OG version drops the beat to emphasize her singing; it offers a needed pause from the main loop that throws a lot more emphasis on her singing.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 5

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 7

 

FRIEND OF MINE

Another demo mix that doesn’t offer anything except the standard track in shittier quality.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 5

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 8

 

WHUTCHU WANT VS. UNBELIEVABLE

Whutchu Want is a surprisingly good song for an unreleased track, although I must admit that it’s basically Gimme the Loot without BIG doing his accomplice’s annoying voice and with a anthem chorus instead of just BIG yelling “Gimme the Loot!”

I enjoyed Whutchu Want a lot, and it fits in really well on Ready to Die,  but it’s not on par with Unbelievable, especially DJ Premier’s production.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 5

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 9

 

SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

Basically identical tracks, except the OG version has some dead space at the end. Tie.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 6

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 10

 

BONUS TRACKS

The remaster’s bonus tracks are “Who Shot Ya?” (by popular demand) and “Just Playing (Dreams),” which are both okay songs, but not stellar and are songs I never listen to when I spin my copy of Ready to Die.

On the other hand, the bonus tracks on OG Edition are funky, bouncy songs that I enjoyed all of. Especially entertaining is “Pepsi Freestyle,” a Biggie freestyle about none other than the delicious carbonated beveraged we all enjoy. It’s worth listening to just to hear Biggie rhyme “test me” with “Pepsi.”

My personal favorite of the bunch is “For the Macs and Dons,” a soulful, organ-drenched tune that would have fit in well on Ready to Die. The only real problem is the last song, “Biggie Got The Hype Shit,” which is apparently recorded off of a radio station that played it once, meaning that not only is it censored, but the station’s DJ is talking throughout it.

Ready to Die OG Edition: 8

Ready to Die Standard Edition: 10

 

CONCLUSION

Both of these are stellar albums, but the regular Ready to Die takes the crown for its funkier beats and better mixing. But don’t discount the OG Edition, which contains a good 8 alternative mixes or unreleased songs that I will be spinning quite a bit in the months to come.

Cop ’em both, but if you must pick, I’d go with the original. You probably won’t be as fascinated by the OG edition unless you are already a Biggie fan.