Danger Mouse changed everything. With the release of the DJ's beautifully produced The Grey Album, a 2004 mash-up of Jay-Z’s The Black Album and The Beatle’s The White Album, Brian Joseph Burton legitimized the mixtape as a genuine and beautiful art form. Although The Grey Album was released for free, it solidified Danger Mouse’s commercial career as he went on to produce with the likes of the Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley, Dangerdoom, and Beck.
This beautiful project helped completely change the way that artists promote their work. Though mixtapes have been a major element of hip hop since its origins, with the explosion of the World Wide Web, previously unknown artists and producers are now capable of translating commercial success from the hype garnered off of a high quality mixtape or two. Though countless artists and producers attempt to follow in the footsteps of Danger Mouse, only a select few talented individuals have been able to succeed (thank God the internet masses still filter for talent for the most part).
One of the most successful producers in recent years has been Ohio producer/DJ Mick Boogie. Mick Boogie (along with frequent collaborator Terry Urban) has exploded on the scene since his 2006 Eminem and Alchemist co-signed The Pre-Up and has not relented his chokehold on hip hop production. Collaborating with premier artists the likes of Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Mobb Deep, Talib Kweli, Jus Mic, and Kidz In The Hall, nearly anything that The Commissioner releases you can count on bordering classic status. The past two years have seen MB release a series of free mixtapes that are must-haves for any music fan (whether you like hip hop or not).
Whether it’s his Unbelievable tribute to the late, great, Notorious B.I.G. or his Adele 1988 project that perfectly blends the up and coming star Adele with sounds from hip hop’s golden age (check the “First Love Remix” featuring Naledge of Kidz In The Hall), the thing that remains constant with Mick Boogie’s production is his ability to mix the songs perfectly (or find a production team that will) and to pick songs that not only match up with each other tempo-wise, but also change the listener’s perspective of the original songs.
My favorite Mick Boogie project thus far has been his classic 2008 Viva La Hova blend of Jay-Z and Coldplay. The mixtape, originally inspired by the collaborations on “Beach Chair” and “Lost+”, has been co-signed by both parties and I place it right beside The Grey Album as the greatest mash-ups of all time. The thing I love about this mash-up isn’t the Jay-Z lyrics (which I love those regardless of the sample they are over), but the way that the samples change the listener’s perspective of said lyrics. Take for example songs such as “Know My Place” and “Hola Blanco,” a song which, when set against Spanish guitars on The Blueprint, was a narcissistic boast about Hov’s greatness, but against the Coldplay samples these songs are transformed into the honest, no-holds bar confessions of a street hustler who recognizes that he is trapped inside the bars of music that he himself “chooses” to create. Other choice tracks of the mixtape include “Miss Trouble,” “The Reverse Fix” (in which Mick Boogie and nVMe beautifully reverses the sample of Coldplay’s “The Fix), “Lost Part 2,” “What If We Cry?”, and the closing “X-Y-Z” (my personal favorite).
Mick Boogie isn’t the next big hip hop producer/DJ. He has already arrived. Below, I’ve attached links to some of his works that I highly recommend you cop. The Re-Living Thing is dropping August 27th...
Viva La Hova:
Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Viva La Hova: