AZ, Redman, Erick Sermon & DJ Premier Make D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar Even Sweeter (Audio)
When D’Angelo’s album Brown Sugar was released in 1995, it did not sound like anything out at the time. Hip-Hop was enjoying what many see as its golden age, with music by Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and more lighting up the charts. On the R&B front, artists like Xscape, R. Kelly, Monica, Montell Jordan, Adina Howard and Whitney Houston were holding court with slick sounds and Hip-Hop infused beats. When D’Angelo hit the scene, he was a distinct throwback to the Funk and Soul of artists like Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson and Prince.
Despite his Gospel and Soul roots, D’Angelo still had the Hip-Hop swagger of many of his contemporaries. He wore his hair in cornrows and flexed leather jackets, no matter the weather. Years later, his ties to the culture would become even more evident, as he joined forces with artists like Questlove, J. Dilla and Q-Tip in concocting the Black Magic of his Voodoo album. One of the most celebrated pairings on that LP was with DJ Premier, the producer whose very presence on a project was an instant stamp of Hip-Hop credibility. That was the first time Preemo and D worked together on an album, but it was not their first time collaborating with one another.
While Premier was not involved with Brown Sugar, D’Angelo did tap him for a couple of rare and essential remixes, and now, with the release of the deluxe edition of the album, those songs are available on streaming services for the first time. Earlier in the week, D released Preem’s flip of “Me & Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine,” and now the GOAT producer’s version of “Lady” has arrived, and it features a typically buttery verse from AZ. Stripped down to its bare essentials, the remixed version dispenses with Raphael Saadiq’s lush soul and leaves a rough and rugged framework on which D’Angelo and AZ build.
Premier and AZ were not the only Hip-Hop luminaries D’Angelo invited to the remix party, though. On the Def Squad Remix of “Me & Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine,” Redman and Erick Sermon join the Virginia Soul singer on a version of the song that brandishes Sermon’s signature trunk-rattling Funk and a two rough and rugged verses from Reggie Noble.
The Hip-Hop party does not stop there. The deluxe version of Brown Sugar features Kool G Rap, King Tech, a remix that references Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.” and more. Listen to the entire album here.