dj erb and the Art of the Mash-up: Making the Rhythm and Rhyme Collide

Alright guys, I’m back. Sorry I was gone so long. Did you miss me? No? Well that’s just… Anyway it seems that if you didn’t miss me, you have had a good reason because XIV has posted not once, not twice, but three times since the last time I put something up. Three times! I feel totally behind and incompetent. That being said, maybe I can make up for it by bringing you some more awesome music today. Deal? Deal.

I want to talk about two people today. The first of these you may have heard of. His (stage) name is Lupe Fiasco, and he is one of many talented rappers hailing from the Chicago area. He has been around for a while now, but is starting to build in terms of popularity. His most recent radio hit was “The Show Goes On” which didn’t so much sample Modest Mouse’s “Float On” as steal the melody of the chorus outright. Maybe stealing is too harsh, as Lupe never made any attempt to hide or deny it that I’m aware of. In any case, it was not his most original work, but trust me, he has a lot of works that are quite original, probably more so than most of the rappers you’ll find in the mainstream nowadays.

The second person I want to introduce you to is dj erb. I don’t know who dj erb is actually, and all I can really gather about him is that he is a huge Ohio State Buckeyes fan and he despises the Texas Longhorns. I forgive him for that last part,  however, because he makes some of the most high quality killer mash-ups I’ve had the opportunity to hear.

I’m talking about these guys together because, well, two of erb’s best mash-ups involve Lupe. Here’s one:

Kick Push was one of Lupe’s first hits, and it’s good enough on its own, but by taking the a capella of the track and laying it over “Look In My Eyes” off of the soundtrack to the 2003 drama The Cooler, Erb gives it a whole new feel. The song, despite not changing at all lyrically, adapts perfectly to the more serious tones of “Look In My Eyes”, and is, in my opinion, the better for it.

This next example is possibly my favorite dj erb mix. erb takes Lupe’s “Daydreamin'” (which features Jill Scott on the refrain) and interweaves it with the classic “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac from the legendary album Rumors. The result is again an improvement on the original, and even the lyrics make sense together (something many mash-up artists don’t seem to worry that much about).

The original version of this is actually quite good too, and has a sort of classic movie soundtrack vibe (perhaps that’s how erb got the idea for the first example, since Lupe apparently likes doing that kind of thing anyway). My only regret is that erb only uses censored versions of songs in his mash-ups and re-mixes, so a bit of the meaning is lost to that. But if you open the video above on youtube and watch it directly from the page, the full lyrics are posted, so have at it.

Well, that’s it for today. If you like dj erb as much as I do, look him up. He’s got his own blog where he posts his stuff, selling some of it and just giving some of it away. It should be the first thing that comes up through google when you type his name in, if I’m not mistaken.

Until next time, which hopefully won’t be near as long
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