"f*ck your remix!" #3 (The Roots "Proceed II")
Now, technically, the two songs I'm going to contrast here are completely different; the only thing that unites them is the fact that are remixes, and that they appeared on the same record. But getting beyond that, er, technicality, which one is simply better?
The remixes of interest here are "Proceed V (Beatminerz remix)" and "Proceed IV (AJ Shine's Proceed w/o a Pause)". Both cuts are dope. But ultimately, you've got to play one more than the other; that's just the world we live in. And I'm going to argue that the one you should play is the one that is simply more effective.
"Proceed IV" is hype; you have to love the way it drops ("Here we go!") with so much energy, and maintains/builds the energy long enough for Malik B to proclaim: "I can make ya dance/I can make ya shout..." If it doesn't turn the party out, the party is f*cking wack (uh, or maybe you dropped it at the wrong time?). Anyways, shit is dope, hype, all those good adjectives...on through to the chorus, with the blazing horns through the chorus. Then - surprisingly, almost shockingly - it starts to drag...just a bit. The beat so overwhelmed Malik B's lyrics, that you start to lose interest, even though Black Thought's verse is even stronger. All in all, a dope cut, though...what about "Proceed V"?
From the get-go, this is a different cut entirely. The Beatminerz beat you over the head with a hard-ass snare so many times, that by the time the intro has dropped you're deeper underground than a Roots cut has ever taken you. Black Thought talks you through this snare assault, until the dark-as-hell piano sample drops and Black Thought drops the lyrics to match:
Yo, I never sweat it, it's all copasetic
In this lyrical profession, rappers I discredit
Black Thought proceeds to rip one of his most accomplished, well-crafted "fuck these candy-ass rappers" verses. As dark and vicious as the Beatminerz track is, it only serves to envelope Black Thought's flow, creating the perfect atmospherics, without overwhelming it. I've always thought Black Thought is at his best over lower-tempo tracks, where he has more room to play with the timing of his flow. Ultimately, I think it's the hardest shit the Roots have ever done, and probably will ever do.
Now, I'm not necessarily going to take "hard" shit over "hype" shit every time, but my argument is that the "Proceed V" cut is just simply better at what it's trying to do. It's definitive. "Proceed IV", the hype joint, is dope, but the Roots have a lot of cuts in this category. I can almost hear Black Thought rhyming "We can get fly, we can get fly" in several other cuts.
I've always disagreed with my man over this cut, and I don't fault him necessarily; he's much more about the dance floor. Here's his (pithier) argument:
Both mixes are excellent, and i think it comes down to what mood you generally like your music in - in this case i think (Proceed IV) is more hype, but without getting into a "party track" kind of hype. The orchestration with the horns is just dope, and Blackthought's "we can get fly" verse just rips it - it's just such a rare example of how versatile hiphop can get and still be raw.
If you look at these remixes in terms of what they were trying to accomplish, and what they did, it's clear to me..."Proceed V", the Beatminerz remix, is f*ckin' impeccable for its ruggedness. To my friend Alex, it was "Proceed IV"; drop your vote, and your opinion if you've got words...
[click here for the poll]