Thursday 2 April 2015

Don't Sleep #7
The Usual Suspects (1997)

A double header for this edition of Don't Sleep. One of my favourite tracks of the late 90s that kind of got lost in the shuffle of great posse cuts from that era - John Blaze, Banned From TV, The Firm joints, Reservoir Dogs, Benjamins etc . The notable thing about this particular cut is that it comes in two different versions. Both were officially released but neither seems to be considered the original or the remix. They both use the same beat but the line up of rappers varies. 

Version 1, taken from the How To Be A Player soundtrack features Mic Geronimo alongside DMX, Cormega, Fatal and Ja Rule. This was back when DMX was on the cusp of becoming the biggest rapper on the planet for 2 years and no one was entirely sure how Ja Rule spelt his name (he's listed as "Ja" on this). I believe Cormega was signed to Def Jam at this time which explains his appearance and Fatal was getting a bit of attention off the back of his 2Pac association. The beat is courtesy of one of the lesser know members of The Hitmen - Daven "Prestige" Vanderpool and is pretty simple and minimal with a nice Mandrill sample and a subtle bit of ESG in the background.

Version 2 featured on Mic's 'Vendetta' album and on the b side of the Nothin Move But The Money 12". Cormega and Fatal have been replaced by the more than capable line up of Tragedy, Jadakiss and Styles P. No idea why. Label politics would usually be the answer but I can't see why Def Jam would let DMX on there and not Cormega. They did drop him though so maybe that had something to do with it. Still dope. Don't sleep.

Previous Don't Sleeps are here

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