This Friday, the Stokely Williams-fronted Mint Condition will be taking the stage at Club Nokia. The group came to prominence in the '90s with the huge hit ballad "What Kind Of Man Would I Be?" But beyond Mint Condition's slick soul moments, the band also embraced the mid-'90s trend of slapping a guest rap onto an r&b track for remix purposes, working with A Tribe Called Quest for a flip of "Let Me Be The One." Here are Ten of the Best Rapper-Fortified Remixes of R&B Tracks from the era (although if you have an aversion to anything stamped with the seal of Puff Daddy you might want to quit reading now).
10. Horace Brown feat. Jay-Z, "Things We Do For Love (Remix)"
With Jay-Z yet to attain megastar status, and still on the trail of promoting his own Reasonable Doubt
project, the improbably-named r&b lothario Horace Brown managed to nab an early Jigga Man guest verse for his sultry calling card. Clark Kent is on the remix, utilizing a classic James Brown break, while Jay goes gambling in Nevada, declares how it's "me and ol' girl against the world," and then presciently quips, "See you at the platinum party!" Keeping it in the family, Jay's one-time female foil Foxy Brown also graced Brown's
"One For The Money" with a similarly affluent cameo.
9. Jodeci feat. Raekwon & Ghostface Killah, "Freek 'N You (Mr. Dalvin's Freek Mix)"
While lovable rap chubster Raekwon opens proceedings here waffling on about iHop, it's Ghostface who coins one of rap's greatest ever boasts about finding success with the opposite sex as he brags about "pulling ladies like a hamstring." (He fails to state whether he does so while draped in one of his fancy bath robes.) Jodeci member Mr. Dalvin handles the production remix himself, and the ensuing track is a suitably sleazy backdrop for the Shaolin duo's salacious slick talk.
8. S.W.V. feat. The Wu-Tang Clan, "Anything (Old Skool Version)"
"Kaboom! Guess who stepped in the room?" Yep, it's the undeniable team-up of those Sisters With Voices chicks and the rowdy ranks of the Wu. Ol' Dirt Dog, whose own r&b discography also includes dalliances with Mariah Carey
and En Vogue
, sparks the rap section off, while smokey-voiced Method Man manages to sneak a reference to "killer bees" on to what is ostensibly a sweet lil' love song. (More Ruggedness: The "Allstar Rap Remix" of S.W.V.'s "You're The One
" teams up Brooklyn hard-rocks Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigga Tha Gambler with The Lost Boyz for further rap cameo shenanigans.)
7. Mint Condition feat. Phife, "Let Me Be The One (Ummah Remix)"
"I guess we both have seen some brighter days/Somehow the love we shared has slipped away." So sings Stokely Williams on Mint Condition's underrated '97 single. A Tribe Called Quest's Phife adds the hip-hop sheen with a tasteful rap jeremiad about relationships, although the sports nut still manages to slip in at least one reference to a basketball team. (More Tribe! There's also an (arguably better) remix featuring a guest rap with Q-Tip, which strangely seems absent from YouTube's esteemed vaults.)
6. Macy Gray feat. Mos Def, "I've Committed Murder (Gang Starr Remix)"
The sadly-deceased Guru opens this extreme flip with a brief intro rap, before DJ Premier's chunky production carries Gray's husky vocals about her man's boss, whom she crassly characterizes as "a mean old bitch." The Mighty Mos Def then pops up to take over the narrative, complete with conjuring up the charming image of the moment "Macy reached for the tool/Made her holler like Ja Rule." About as unfuckwitable as a rap remix gets.