Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Matoma & The Notorious BIG ft. Ja Rule & Ralph Tresvant – Old Thing Back

The Year of Credits As Unwieldy As Their Associated Ideas continues…


Micha Cavaseno: Biggie has been the subject of millions of remixes, a figure I’m guessing at but seems incredibly feasible. The man’s been subjected to Puffy’s ever frequent THISISTHEREMIX-ian need to extend the legacy further with duets, proving the timelessness of his friend’s music not by hailing his achievements but by placing those great verses in repetitively modernized new contexts. Then there are the many awkward legacy duets, where Biggie might be placed up against his arch-nemesis or other people for whom fans equate artistic stature  with artistic similarity. This constant reworking has diluted Biggie’s resonance over time, whereas the aesthetic of his peers — Nas, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, and many others beloved by dudes in dorms who have the patience to sit through KRS-One lectures — remains so fixedly enshrined. Here, over Matoma’s goofy party cruise of SoundCloud producer chillout further enhancing the removal, it’s impossible to feel the root of the rapper’s aesthetic, even though he was a notorious pop-rap servicer to the point I’m amazed his peers never regarded him as a sellout. Maybe it’s childish to demand some respect to the dead, but one day, nobody will be able to know who the man in that sawdust pile was.

Alfred Soto: Years later the exhumations continue — Biggie’s too. Lawrence Welk used to perform soap sud-soaked versions of the hits too.

Thomas Inskeep: Rest assured I did not expect to be blurbing a single with a “featuring Ja Rule and Ralph Tresvant” credit in 2015. Such an odd idea: take a posthumous Biggie joint cobbled together over a decade after his death (and tacked onto 2007’s Greatest Hits; it sounded old then), and add a lightly loping, sax-riffing Eurodance rhythm track to it. The original was entirely inessential, and this doesn’t improve upon it.   

David Sheffieck: I’m not sure I’d like this so much if I knew the original first — it’s the kind of tone shift that was jarring going the other way even when I was forewarned. But the production’s warm and inviting and just funky enough, making it easy to ignore Ja Rule’s verse and easier to focus on how good Biggie still sounds. It’s far from the goofiest beat he’s had to posthumously contend with, after all.

Ramzi Awn: Summer in a Pathfinder is definitely a good look. “Old Thing Back” belongs on the same playlist as “Dedicated” by Mariah Carey, and it’s the kind of old-school ease that will never get old. Brooklyn in the barbershop with a 20oz slushy never sounded so good.       

Will Adams: I can’t think of anything more of the moment: bullshit frozen margarita house that decontextualizes hip hop greats until they can be both laughed at and laughed with at any Cape Cod summer party.

Scott Mildenhall: This sounds precisely like the cut-and-shut it is, and the brass parps can only be described as parps, but it’s also completely joyous. In light of the self-serious portentousness of Kygo, something so carefree becomes especially appealing.

Nina Lea Oishi: Palatable at first, but the more I listen to this, the more I find myself deeply annoyed by the overly cheerful Euro-dancepop-lite backdrop (including that sax). Biggie deserves production with more substance than this.

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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One Response to “Matoma & The Notorious BIG ft. Ja Rule & Ralph Tresvant – Old Thing Back”

  1. “bullshit frozen margarita house” #aesthetics

    Max nailed it tho.