DJ Scratch is celebrating this Independence Day with a special remix project, a reworking of Nas’ “Illmatic” with his original production called, what else? Scratchmatic. While I had him in the offices at TheUrbanDaily to do a special James Brown tribute mix I took a minute (or four) for him to talk about the remix project and how he did it.
“We have to start honoring our own while they are still living,” Scratch says. “Let them smell the roses and hear the praise and appreciation for their body of work. In my opinion ‘Illmatic’ is the best, complete hip-hop album ever made so I wanted to salute the young god.”
The producer behind tracks like Busta’s “New York Shit,” Pharoahe Monch’s “Right Here,” LL Cool J’s “Illbomb” and more put his distinct flavor on the celebrated collection.
“The whole album is Nas acapellas over my original production. I would loop eight bars of Nas rhyming like ‘It Tain’t hard to tell,’ and I got on my drum set and just played to his eight bars of rhyming until I felt like this groove is it and then I sampled that….”
While “Illmatic” is the primary source material there are other Nas gems reworked, like his vintage collab with Kool G. Rap.
“‘Fast Life’ isn’t on Illmatic but that’s one of the songs I always wanted to remix because at the time a lot of rappers were rhyming over 80s RnB songs. It was a Queens style. They were hot but I just wanted to make a boom-bap version. ‘Fast Life’ was one of my favorite songs lyrically and they’re doing Italian Mafioso style rhyming, but they were rhyming so hard over Surface, so I wanted to make a beat to match it.”
DOWNLOAD “Scratchmatic” at ScratchVision.com at Midnight tonight.