La Bodega
label: needledrop
mix cd includes: mobb deep, binkis recs, gang starr, nighthawks, lee scratch perry, madlib, vintage imperial, rising sons, others.
year of release: 2003
If you talk to DJ Mafioso, and you can when you send him an email here, then he's quick to tell you that he tried to do something different with this mixcd. And he's quite right too. As pretty much every song on this collection was touched, twisted, turned, tweaked or tended to by DJ Mafioso in one way or another. Therefore we get remixes, alternate version, blends, and a whole lot of creative ideas that you wouldn't ever expected to hear. With one common thread being: what happens if you sprinkle a lot of Latin music over pretty much everything you plan to put on your record.
That's how Mobb Deep's "Drop A Gem On Em" suddenly is sounding Latin. There's a quick piano chop and the typical percussion, while a horn at times chimes in. Now, you can't claim that this works naturally. It's still rough around the blended edges. But the attempt is already real. Another as blatant attempt then is on SupaCat w/ Method Man on "Scalp Dem (Mafi Mariachi Remix)", that comes cool. By the time Nice & Smooth's "Funky For You" gets a quick entry, it feels like we're still listening to the same drum. But with the beat dropping to the classic, with Mafioso doing a couple of quick scratches, we're in the murky waters of just rap. But then, wow, things suddenly get interesting, as Gang Starr's "Dwyck" gets this extra sound, and if this isn't the "Miami Vice" theme song, then I forgot what it actually is.

1. La Bodega - DJ Mafioso Intro
2. Stahhr The Femcee Freestyle
3. Willie Perdomo "Nuyorican School Of Poetry (Mafioso Mix)"
4. Moob Deep "Drop A Gem On Em (Latin Salsa Remix)"
5. Rising Sons Freestyle
6. Binkis Recs. meets Mafioso "On The Cardboard (B-Boy Backspin Remix)"
7. Nice & Smooth "Funky For You"
8. Gang Starr "Dwyck"
9. Kraftwerk meets AZ & Nas "Life's A Bitch (Needle Drop Remix)"
10. Nas "I Can (Mafioso Mix)"
11. Bambu De Asiatic "Salsa Breaks Freestyle"
12. Sup Cat & Method Man "Scalp Dem (Mafi Mariachi Remix)"
13. Bonecrusha "Neva Scared (Mafioso Chamblee Remix)"
14. Amdex Of Vinyl Junkies
15. Vinly Junkies "1137"
16. Binkis Recs "Talking About (Mafioso On Da Mix)"
17. Nighthawks "Cop Hell"
18. Vintage Imperial "Boiling Point"
19. Gang Starr "Rite Where You Stand"
20. Gang Starr "What I'm Here For"
21. Lee Skratch Perry "Dub Break"
22. Talib Kweli "Get By (Lee Skratch Blend)"
23. Phife Dawg & Pete Rock "192"
24. Madlib "The Roots Remix"
25. Collective Efforts w/ H2O formerly of Mass Influence "Way 2 Long"
26. Pstash & JusBlak "Firestarter Freestyle"
27. Shabba Ranks and Bubba Sparks "Mafioso Spinnin On 1 Knee Remix"
28. Collective Efforts "Another Soulful Song"
29. Risingsons "Skyrax"
30. Vintage Imperial and MC Plantano Freestyles
31. Outro Shouts
So you see, Mafioso is still doing things differently. He also pairs Shabba Ranks and Bubba Sparxxx up on a made up in his studio collaboration effort. Or earlier there's a poem being read by Willie Perdomo on "Nuyorican School Of Poetry (Mafioso Mix)", that gives the intellectual explanation of the spirit of a bodega. Or Mafioso puts one Kraftwerk song behind the lyrics of Nas & AZ's "Life's A Bitch (Needle Drop Remix)", that makes AZ sound even more quirky, as the lyrics had to be sped up. This however actually blends well. The good beginning of Mafioso's reworking of "I Can" by Nas are lost when he still keeps that classical piano in it. Here the recording quality drops to a serious low too, with the voice getting murky, through much of that original song having had to be blended out.
Other tracks you want to rest your attention with are Binkis Recs "Talking About (Mafioso On Da Mix)", that with a dope beat and good rhymes, is just one of the complete songs on here. Vintage Imperial drop "Boiling Point", and the mix then turns into Gang Starr's "Rite Where You Stand" and "What I'm Here For". Then the mixcd makes another turn to the unexpected, as it suddenly gives us a Lee Skratch Perry song, that turns into Talib Kweli's "Get By". That's again a blend, with Skratch's instruments however getting hidden well in the back. Things then move easily into Phife Dawg and Pete Rock's "192", showing that Mafioso could also do a mix in a traditional way of going from one dope song to the other.
Besided this, Mafioso also shows his skills in bits and pieces collaging on his intro, that runs through a couple of people mentioning his name. There's more tracks by Bambu De Asiatic, Bonecrusha, a cool exclusive track by Amdex of Vinyl Junkies, we get a Madlib tune with Roots rapping, Collective Efforts team up with H20, formerly of Mass Influence (and Y'all So Stupid, right?) on "Way 2 Long", but keep to themselves on the good "Another Soulful Song". And finally noteworthy is Nighthawks "Cop Hell", as it's not changed and just there in its original form and that's a rare thing on here.
Then there's also the freestyles, and one of the best comes from Stahhr The Femcee, who just sounds amped on this. Other freestyles come by more Atlanta notables, like the much hyped Binkins Recs, Vintage Imperial, Pstash, JusBlack, MC Platano and Rising Sons. So basically you get everything: remixes, blends, transitions, freestyles, exclusives, creativity, few but still scratching, and good selections. Making this mixcd quite an effort, that often succeeded with flying flags, at times might be pushing it a little too far, but that deserves more than just the nod of approval for the effort.
review: tadah
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