Evan Nabavian holds the memory of Aaliyah’s midriff sacred.
My roommate in college listened to Graduation and Tha Carter III on endless repeat. To this day, he never misses a Lil Wayne concert. One time I played him Flying Lotus’ remix of “I Feel Like Dying” and I could almost hear the whirr of confusion inside his head. It’s interesting when artists who forsake mass appeal in favor of left field bounce get their hands on pop songs. Usually, they gut the track and gnarl the nice, clean sounds that made the song so accessible.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra warp Monica and Brandy’s vocals on “The Boy is Mine,” add a breakbeat, and mask the melody so that the hackneyed teen drama melts into a viscous, glittery pudding. UMO gives Aaliyah’s “Try Again” the same treatment — their remix clashes horribly with my childhood memories of Aaliyah’s midriff. Shlohmo’s take on “Marvin’s Room” is more reserved. He keeps Drake’s whiny croon intact, but he scraps the rhyming and makes the whole thing airy and effervescent.
But Hudson Mohawke’s approach to a forgettable 2008 Keri Hilson single is the most interesting. He upgrades the track and actually makes it more of a crowd-pleaser. Hudmo’s brutish drums are better suited to house parties, proms, and ass shaking contests than the feeble bump of the original. Keri’s ‘don’t touch my butt anymore’ sass is amplified by the gigantic synth line. I bet I could slip it onto my roommate’s iPod without any complaints. After all, the Weezy verse is there, as Auto-Tuned as ever.
MP3: Drake-“Marvin’s Room (Drake’s Thru the Floor Remix)”