The first mash-up era is dead. That was the period roughly between 2004-2007, when Danger Mouse's alchemy of Jay-Z and the Beatles inspired irate threats from the major labels, while Girl Talk sold out concerts across America despite doing little more on-stage than pressing the space bar, dancing maniacally and stripping nude.
Yet we've settled into another era of the mash-up, one (thankfully) less widely hyped. Sure, few days pass by when an unsolicited email doesn't arrive from a producer/DJ touting some ill-inspired mash-up of sounds. But rest assured, they remain popular. Earlier this year, Wu-Tang Meets Fugazi became a viral sensation, despite the fact that the RZA's production between 1992 and 1997 could not be improved upon by Miles Davis dueting with the Buddha, let alone by a bunch of slashing Ian MacKaye guitar riffs.
Enter De La Soulviet, a remix project that attempts the impossible. Ostensibly, there's no point in remixing De La Soul's early beats, many of which were handled by J Dilla and Prince Paul, two of the greatest producers of all time. But credit Miami-based DJ TenDJiz for averting cliche.
Rather than mix Da La's classic a capellas with party rock, techno, or an overly familiar staple of the canon, TenDJiz pairs them with classic Soviet soul and jazz breaks and beats. Under no circumstances should this work as well as it does, but the blends are artfully done and the samples are tastefully chosen. It's not about to make you sell your copies of "3 Feet High and Rising" and "Stakes is High," but it provides an interesting twist on some of best songs in the De La catalog.
On paper, this is the sort of idea that people get sent to the gulag for, but this deserves a raised clenched fist. Well played, comrade.
De La Soulviet by TenDJiz (Explicit language)
-- Jeff Weiss