Harold Stallworth love to hear the stories, again and again.
Circa 1986, Queensbridge park jam legend DJ Hot Day was tapped to remix New Edition’s “Once In a Lifetime Groove.” The original record was featured on the soundtrack for Running Scared, a ditzy buddy cop flick starring Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. Dubbed the “Master Mix,” Hot Day’s blend combined the weeping piano riff from “Ike’s Mood” with a barrage of sharp, heavy-handed drums. In the time since, Hot Day’s remix has been repurposed by a slew of Queenbridge rappers: Intelligent Hoodlum (“Grand Groove”), Mobb Deep (“Reach”), Cormega (“Beautiful Mind”), and Nas (“Reach Out”) have all tried their hand at remixing Hot Day’s remix. The lattermost, packaged with Nas’s tenth studio album, Life Is Good, is particularly interesting because unlike the previous revamps, it still sounds like a park jam. With the exception of Mary J. Blige filling in for New Edition, “Reach Out” stays aggressively true to the spirit of the original.
Last year, closer to Nas’s 20th anniversary Illmatic cold boot than Def Jam’s push for Life Is Good, Hot Day released his remix for “Reach Out” by way of his personal Soundcloud account. This latest iteration, where Hot Day replaces Mary J. Blige with the original New Edition vocals, works as a remix of a remix of a remix of an 18-year-old love song—a meta-loop of Tropic Thunder proportions. It makes for a wonky yet worthy addition to Nas’s vast unreleased catalog.