Mobb Deep ‘Got It Twisted’ (Jive)
It shouldn’t still happen should it? Taking hits from the 80s hasn’t sounded so crazy for a while, even as that trend has reached it’s fulcrum in the post-millennial fallout. This time the hook from Thomas Dolby’s ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ is stretched and skewered and bound with a crystalline perfunktory beat perfect for Prodigy and Havoc’s blahzay (if not particularly inspiring here) posturing. For me, as is often the case with my enjoyment of US hip-hop) all that really matters about this track is that hook and it’s deployment. The subverting of context, so simply, so craftily and in this case so elegantly. The question of whether the beat came before the sample intrigues. But less imaginative as it may seem compared to the recent wave of crunked up hits that tend to shun obvious (tho perhaps you wouldn’t expect Dolby’s work to be drafted in this genre) samples in favour of original hooks generated by digital synths – itself something in common with early 80s pop production. Either way new wave influences and references (fresh or old) in hip-hop (and other genres – cf Richard X) production remain welcome in this corner.
(Forgot to mention that the duo were quoted in interviews as claiming the Dolby track and others like it WERE popular in circles such as theirs growing up – so not a complete surprise to see it used in this way after all. But then maybe the surprise is it’s taken this long).