Friday, February 25, 2005

Jay-Z vs. Swervedriver

"Rave That Dirt Down Off Your Shoulder" (

My first ever attempt at a mashup was far too ambitious for my nascent skills. It would take actual musical knowledge--you know, of keys and stuff--to complete. (I have worked on a scaled-down version, but you may not ever hear that one, either.)

Anyway, Jay-Z vs. Swervedriver is the first mashup I actually completed. I must admit, a lot of credit (or blame) goes to Jay-Z for making these acapellas widely available. If I hadn't actually finished this mashup, I may have long since quit altogether.

I think, were Jay-Z's fans to hear of this mashup, they'd be like, "Great...another Jay-Z mashup." I haven't actually investigated that--it's just a strong hunch. On the other hand, unlike Jay-Z remixes, I don't think Swervedriver remixes come out every other minute.

So, when I had this in a halfway listenable form, I ran it by the good folks at ( who provided some helpful comments. (In all fairness, WTS also made many of the same comments. However, he is half deaf, so you can't blame me for seeking a second opinion.)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Whitney Houston vs. Fugazi

So Emo

So Emo" (

"So Emo" is a mashup whose origins are complicated and rambling.

One day, my buddy SF called me and told me he had a mashup I had to hear. He played it over the phone, and I recognized Fugazi's "Repeater" but couldn't tell what the vocal over it was. I got the idea that it was Whitney Houston's "So Emotional." Because I couldn't hear it clearly, I had to figure out how it went in my head. Then I told LS about it. Not knowing the Fugazi song, she asked me how the mashup would go. We sang it as a duet--her on the Whitney part and me on the Fugazi part. (LS has a fantastic voice when you can get her to sing.)

The two of us had the acapella version pretty well down by the time we visited SF in Jersey, and we couldn't wait to hear the real thing. I'm sorry to say that, when we did, we were disappointed. It was actually Fugazi vs. Mariah Carey. Maybe SF had it mixed up--it was a white label, and therefore the record wouldn't have the information on it. Or maybe I had it mixed up. Either way, I think the Mariah song being mashed up was "Emotions," so the mistake was understandable.

(No disrespect to the person who put together the Mariah mashup--it's a fine mashup. It's just that we were expecting something else.)

SF wanted to know how we thought it would go, so LS and I rocked it live. He and J were cracking up. At this point, I knew it had to be done, but it would be another five months before I could. I had it finished around midnight on 12/22. Dare I say it was a Xmas miracle.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Liz Phair vs. Jaylib


"Canaryz is Out Tonight" (

Jaylib is a collaboration between Jay Dee (aka J Dilla) and Madlib, probably my two favorite hip hop producers. The Jaylib song is called "Starz" and in this case, it's Dilla on the beat and Lib on the verses. The Liz Phair song is called "Canary" and it's one that, years ago, I brooded over a lot. It just popped in my head again for no good reason.

This was my second successful attempt at a mashup (the first was Jay-Z vs. Swervedriver). When I started this one, I realized I had a self-control problem. I didn't even like it--the piano sounded nice over the beat and that was about the extent of my curiosity--but I kept at it anyway.

The first draft was passable. Lib took a verse, Liz took a verse, that was about it. (And on the Liz verse I was trainwrecking all over the place.) But it was everyone else's favorite, which made its incomplete state all the more annoying. So, this weekend, I finished the second (and, I hope, final) draft. It's now got a few more things that every song should have: an intro, a chorus, and reversed-out piano at the end--and I fixed the trainwrecking, for the most part. Now I actually like it. Dare I say it's a song.

Mashup Page

Mashups are taking over my life--or, at least, my brain and a lot of my free time. I appreciate that they are not taking over your life so, instead of sending you an unsolicited e-mail every five seconds about something new I've done, I'm using this blog as an outlet for my compulsion.

Make no mistake--I strongly dislike blogs. I am fully aware of their literary limitations (and my own). I'm not trying to take the "blah" out of blogs--I'm not sure it's possible. However, I want to keep the design of my mashup page clean, and put all the useless information over here, where it belongs. Not to mention that Google does not look for personal Web pages like the one I use. But maybe Google will find it if I use it's blog and link it all up.

So, the mashup page is here ( I'll be updating it and providing the running commentary at this blog. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.