Old School vs. New School
For hip-hop artists, the you-got-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter philosophy has always produced hit-or-miss results. Whether it be the Judgment Night soundtrack, the Loud Rocks compilation, or Old School vs. New School Vol. 1, creating a sonic cocktail of rappers and rockers (or rappers and knob-twiddlers) will undoubtedly produce occasionally brilliant music between the artists who can match each other’s intensity and lackluster pap between artists who are merely enamored by cross-pollination. Old School vs. New School Vol. 2 is no exception, as electronic artists pillage the Jive vaults once again for 12 rounds of both exceptional remixery and insipid idiocy.
Besides the overshadowing fact that four-minute rap songs rarely succeed as six-minute techno anthems, a few brilliant moments do emerge. English organic-electronic pioneers Propellerheads turn A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” into hyper-melodic cocktail funk, while the versatile Groove Armada transforms Tribe’s “Description of a Fool” into austere acoustic balladry and syncopated beat ballet. KRS-One’s “Sound of Da Police” becomes angry demi-hardcore breakbeat pummel at the hands of Freq Nasty, while BDP’s “Necessary” takes a decidedly jungle feel with Mark Prichard.
Of course, all is not well in Beatville. “Bonita Applebum” is reduced to clinical house tediousness, Jackal & Hyde create colorless sludge from an already uninspired 1990 outing from a 19-year-old Kid Rock, and two tracks from seminal psychedelic Brit-pop band Stone Roses just seem like Jive is purging their back catalog at random. Outshining the entire 69-minute duration of this sporadic hodgepodge, however, is Pimp Juice’s aggro-funk and scattered technoise trampling over the high-velocity Fu-Schnickens near-classic “Ring The Alarm”; the Fu always sounded limited by mid-tempo breaks anyway. Old School vs. New School Vol. 2 creates stunning dance music out of just beats and rhymes just as quickly as it creates soulless ooze. Maybe Jive’s Old School vs. Klezmer should be put on the backburner for a while.
Zomba Recording Corporation, 137-139 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001