Do Remember: Scritti Politti, Mos Def & Lee Majors – Tinseltown To Boogie Down Remix (Audio)
Heads may or may not be up on Scritti Politti. However, the band from Leeds, England has been working for almost as long as Hip-Hop has been around. Since 1977, singer Green Gartside has carried the outfit (with revolving fellow band members) through the decades, and dabbles with Synth Pop, New Wave, Pop, Post-Punk, and even splashes with Hip-Hop.
In 1999, Anomie & Bonhomie released. The fourth band release, on the Warner Bros. Records label (in US markets, anyway) included single “Tinseltown To Boogiedown.” Not a Top 200 charting album, the moment seemingly went lost on many. However, Green and company made a very devoted Hip-Hop Head move, and commissioned three remixes of the track, which featured a pre-Black On Both Sides Mos Def, and Lee Majors of Da Bush Babees on all four mixes, or as the 12″ said, “variations.”
After David Gamson produced the original track (as with all of the LP), remix duties were handed over to A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Pete Rock, and Psycho Les of The Beatnuts—three Rap production giants.
As he’d done for years, and was about to do again with Lucy Pearl, Ali Shaheed found that jazzy knock that allowed verses and phrases to resonate all the more. Surrounded around the concept of time, Mos and Lee (who were already collaborators thanks to “The Love Song”) stole the show, with introspective poetics, shout outs to each other, and their low-key host, Scritti Politti. Green simply sketches around the chorus, largely scatting some background vocals while Ali, Mos, and Lee seemed to wave the Native Tongues flag in a place rarely traveled. The moment works, and reminds Heads on all sides how labeling things by genre can be such a disservice.
While all the mixes are great, this one is truly grabbing and complements the far-reaching lyrics and chorus exceptionally well.
Scritti Politti produced a video in the UK for the original version, starring the MCs:
Also, in case you wondered, here are the other remixes to the same song: