The ten best all-star remixes in rap
In music, the term "remix" can mean a lot of different things, even in rap. But one of the most celebrated traditions in the rap industry is collecting verses from the hottest names in the game for a second go-around on a tried-and-true instrumental. On the one hand, you can wind up with a collection of literally and figuratively mailed-in verses. But on the other hand, if more than one of these stars peaks on the same track, you can have fireworks. And it doesn't often get much better than that. Here are ten of the best all-star remixes.
See also: The ten best rap producers of all time
10. Nas - "Made You Look (Remix)" featuring Jadakiss and Ludacris
It was always the Salaam Remi beat that attracted people to this song more than Nas's lyrics, even in the original; it's simple, but the noodle-guitar sound creates an excellent pocket to rhyme in. Nas's rhymes take a step down in the remix, but Ludacris and especially Jadakiss take full advantage of their time on the track to deliver extremely potent verses.
9. LL Cool J - "I Shot Ya (Remix)" featuring Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe and Foxy Brown
The original "I Shot Ya" was the definition of meh. LL basically stacked vague threat on top of vague thread hoping something would connect. None of it really did. The remix, on the other hand, finds LL actually sounding somewhat menacing, and his verse isn't even one of the better ones. That honor goes to either Prodigy or Foxxy Brown, sounding like a pitched-up Nas, who made her name as the ballsiest rapper on this track of heavyweights.
8. MOP - "Ante Up (Remix)" featuring Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma and Teflon
The key in trying to rehash a track like "Ante Up" is retaining the original's insane punchiness. By enlisting Busta Rhymes and two other powerful vocalists in Remy Ma and Teflon, MOP ensured that their remix would be bursting at the seams with kinetic energy. Lil Fame and Billy Danze provide verses that hold up with their originals, but as always, it is the driving, anthemic chorus that carries the energy of this track.
7. Kanye West - "I Don't Like (Remix)" featuring Pusha T, Chief Keef, Big Sean and Jadakiss
Not only did Kanye make massive contributions to this already excellent beat with a powerful "Woah" sample from Barrington Levy's "Under Mi Sensi" and a switch-up for the final two verses, the added voices of Pusha T, Kanye, Big Sean and Jadakiss add some much needed sonic and stylistic variance to the mesmerizing but hypnotic original. In particular, Pusha T's verse is concise and pointed, in stark contrast to Keef's rambling style. The result is a very different song, more different than most remixes usually are, but I guess that's why Kanye gets the artist credit. He took a dope sound and, with help, made it much more.