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Construx Nunchux Playlist #4: Mash Up Yo Face!

9:17:00 AMPaul

Mash-ups-- easy to make, hard to make right.  We've heard mixed and mashed reactions concerning the genre or sub-genre if you wanna call it that, so we scoured the net, up in our scouring pad, searching for some pretty damn sharp (we think) ones that cover the gamete and run the gauntlet.  Out of some 200 choices, these were the ones that combined interestingly incongruous artists and also executed it well (we think), while trying to steer clear of obvious choices.  Please take a second to weigh in with a comment below so we can tuck in this debate and kiss it on the forehead. And if you have any suggestions, link your cXnX guys to the trezhrr.
1. GirlTalk

This is an obvious choice to lead us off.  Is it fair or does it even make sense to purport to compose a list of impressive crossover mashups without acknowledging the king of the style.  Admittedly, everyone else's entries will likely pale in comparison, but it's only fair, son.  Whether it's music or art or a waste of time, this man puts a lot of effort into it and brings a lot of people together doing it.  And he reps the quatro uno deuce.  Are we all on the same page?  Let's go.

Ah, the new pride of Pittsburgh not named Wiz. Girl Talk took mashup to a whole new level, although I don't know or care about the origins of the mashup, I have heard enough to crown an undisputed king.

2. Sir Mix-A-Lot v. DJ Madd

Wow, what a find!!  A truly underrated and underplayed track by a boss MC mixed up with some fat dubs.  No half-steppin here at all. The party is officially cookin.  Please read the intro real careful-like since it more or less echoes some sentiments shared by the staff here at cXnX.

Download: Sir Mix-A-Lot - Dubstep on Broadway

3. Prodigy v. White Stripes

First, here are two acts that cXnX would never be able to deny, hit or miss, and are happy to promote.  Second, genre hopping is what mashing is all about and cultural exchange and so on.  Third, badazz and batsht crazee.

Download: Prodigy vs. The White Stripes

4. The Avalanches v. Boogie Down Productions
A pretty crafty, if albeit simple, combination that resonates with us because it represents two acts that we have great respect for and also each track, taken in actual context as presented here only serves to bolster the overall theme of the other and actually enhance.  Maybe a little intellectual of an interpretation, but it is all about edutainment.

Download: Boogie Down Productions vs. The Avalanches

5. BHG and Peaches v. Daft Punk

All three of these tracks that can be taken as mindless exploitation or astute cultural observation when combined become undeniably funky.  Whether you want to take it at face value or read into it, can't deny the funk... can you?

Download: Bloodhound Gang vs. Peaches vs. Daft Punk - Ballad of Chasey Pain

6. Raffi v. Li'l Jon

Go to ( to jump straight into the tune. The first half-minute is the "Bananaphone", a personal favorite, followed by some banter displaying how commercial rap had been appropriated by the late 80's and was considered completely non-threatening. The author made a pointed decision in choosing an obscenity-laden, antagonistic, misogynistic, bar brawl drrrty flo rap that would likely make Rappin' Raffi reconsider his stance.

Download: Raffi vs. Lil' John

7. The Upsetters v. Roxy Music
I would argue that it's not a true Djing feat if there isn't an MC on the mic, but this one is slick enough to pass.  And it does what a mash-up is supposed to do is make the listener reconsider the basic elements of each song included and the inherent possibilities therein.

Download: Roxy Music vs. The Upsetters

8. L' Trimm v. Gary Numan

Why not? Tight.

Download: Lil' Trimm vs. Gary Newman

9. Soulja Boy V. The Buggles

Does this track A) Call into question the validity of Soulja Boy's rhymes; B) Elevate them to another level by replacing the formulaic crunk beat; or C) Rock a house party till the break of dawn?  These two tracks actually fit together tightly no doubt and anyone who wants to dump on Soulja Boy for exploiting a cultural movement for some doremi is overlooking the fact that the Buggles were intended to do the same at their time, and pretty much anyone in between them (chronologically or stylistically) does the same.  It does raise a very good question though:  Will Trevor Horn produce Soulja's next album?

Download: Soulja Boy vs. The Buggles

10. Kanye & Blondie v. Portishead

These three acts pop up a lot in this arena, but this is one version that takes leaps to bridge gaps. It's an easy move to go for a trip hop song and it's undoubtedly considered by some to replace Beth Gibbons' voice, but we stand by this selection as a well balanced mix of tuneful overtones and hip understatement.  Kanye comes in at the end and while it would have been easier (and more ironic) to use a verse, the author went with one of his very few jabs at sincerity and made it more palatable.

Download: Blondie vs. Kanye West vs. Portishead

11. Fugazi v. Destiny's Child

It'd be great, wouldn't it, if more contemporary music had this flavor? You know it would.  Even, or especially, the pop radio joints.  And if you link to the vid on the site, you see a lot of comments railing against the notion of using Fugazi in this manner, but it not only works musically, but enrages a lot of uptight hardcore kids with no sense of humor or universality.  Bonus Points! 

Download: Fugazi vs. Destiny's Child

12. The Specials v. Wu-Tang Clan

More than any track on this list, this one could be accused of being ironic or conflicted, because there is no overarching theme between the two songs and in fact they completely contradict each other.  There are a lot of indie mash-ups that indirectly or intentionally undercut the message of the rhymes overlaid (or vice-versa), but this is not one of them.  Both songs carry and focused message, urgently presented, and are given equal time here to make a point.  Compliance v. Survival.  Social Responsibility v. Individual Betterment.  Yall make tha call.

Download: The Specials vs. Wu-Tang

13. Cardigans v. Deadmaus

Ah, the ever tenuous house mashup.  In this case it works, it isn't merely a remix of one of the songs with spare elements of the other.  Both, which are badazz in their own rights are fully displayed here and irrefutable danceable.

Download: Deadmau5 vs. The Cardigans

14. Louis Armstrong v. Radiohead

Okay, so not all successful mashes are dancehall fillers.  Let's take this moment to take a breath. If nothing else it proves Louis Armstrong wasn't as off-key as he was accused of being (by who??).

Download: Radiohead vs. Louis Armstrong

15. Le Tigre v. Missy Elliott
Many mixes including any type of political or socially aware song tend to completely rend the original meaning useless, thus angering those familiar with that original meaning, so a song just becomes a backing track (or vice-versa) and we backtrack as a result.  Specifically, all the other tracks employing Le Tigre, use this undeniably hot lick as the foundation for pretty counterproductive rhymed rhetoric.  This is not one of them.  The songs comingle here and through the use of feminist rock, the rhymes carrier a weightier message.  And if not, it's still well executed and danceable. And a catchy title...

Download: Missy Elliot vs. Le Tigre

16. Pretty Lights v. Kool Keith, et al.

Sure, it seems suspect to include a track based off a musician whose bread n butta is already combining tracks in unexpected ways, but what is interesting about this selection is that it showcases different MC's with completely different styles (perhaps stylez) to demonstrate how the state ice cold fluid beat can supply the versatility to support any number of flows.

Download: Pretty Lights vs. Kool Keith - et al

17. The Strokes v. Lupe Fiasco

Fkng hot, actual mash instead of a rock track with some arbitrary verse over it.

Download: The Strokes vs. Lupe Fiasco

18. J Dilla v. A Tribe Called Quest

Yes, yall caught us.  Included more to pay respects to two legendarily hot acts gone by the way side.  Point is that while this is a pretty easy creation, it really highlights the rhyme by taking it out of the contextual shadow of the original sample.  So I guess it asks, Is it a whole, does the rhyme's effect depend on the sample, or are a good mc's spit solid enough to resonate over any beat?

Download: JDilla vs. A Tribe Called Quest

19. Grey Album

If you think that any of the above captions are an overanalysis and that the sum in this case is less than equal to the parts and that this whole concept is the product of laziness, talk to DangerMouse.  Musically, it's quaint and I really think Jay's delivery overpowers a lot of the backing tracks, but ideologically and technically it opened a lot of doors for kids in their parents' basements to make a statement, for better or for worse.

Download: The Grey Album

BONUS!  Keyboard Cat v. Usher

Better or worse?

Download: Usher vs. Keyboard Cat

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