If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the approach Daz and Co. have used in undertaking the latest posthumous 'Pac album, yet another in the long list of remix projects. Time and time again, 'Pac profiteers have continued to splatter Shakur's vocals over an array of radio-ready production and sprinkled on some commercially viable "collaborators" into the pot for a little extra flavor: a recipe for disaster. 'Pac fans and smart hip-hoppers alike have been starving for something fresh, and though it may not be enough for a full meal, Nu-Mixx Klazzics definitely serves as a filling side dish.
What's the Difference Between ___ & "Nu"
While 2006's Pac's Life certainly had some redeeming qualities, overall, it was a disaster. For most fans, the ill-fitted accompaniment by the likes of artists such as T.I. and Ludacris fell on deaf ears. A misleading album title to say the least, Pac's Life was anything but. Nu-Mixx Klazzics Volume 2 draws a much more accurate portrait by surrounding and reuniting the distant words of 2Pac with his close peers. Vocals and verses by the Outlawz and Boot Camp Clik members not only sound authentic, they feel authentic. While most remix albums comes off as disarrayed collages of various audios, Nu-Mixx Klazzics 2 stays true to the essence of classic songs, while adding a 'lil somethin' extra.
A Nu Look at the Ol' Klazzics
Aside from a few over-the-top tracks which attempt to please everybody, the album is relatively grimy and true to Pac's style. The pair of "Picture Me Rollin'" remixes adhere to the original form of the song from All Eyez on Me. While it's debatable as to which guest verses are "better" (most would favor the originals over the new ones simply out of "loyalty"), it's still a great pleasure to be able to hear alternates to songs which we all love. In some cases, these remixes add an alternate element to the songs as well. A key example is the Dwele-assisted "Staring Through My Rear View.". Here 2Pac's mournfully existentialist chorus is replaced by the tranquilizing presence of Dwele's soulful touch. It's as if the song, which retains its original beat (aside from minor detail changes), takes on a new perspective.
It's also worthy to note that the updated or otherwise new verses and choruses by guest artists are all quality material. Hussein Fatal continues to prove his talent as a lyricist after commendable verses on a couple of Pac's Life tracks, and now here. Kurupt, Boot Camp Clik and the remaining Outlawz follow suit, as Young Noble's updated "Lost Souls" verse finds him praying for his brother and sending out condolences for the recent loss of KRS-One's stepson.
That's not to say that Nu-Mixx Klazzics doesn't have its share of missteps. The freak of nature that is "Hail Mary (Rock Version)" feels both uncomfortable and conflicting. A standout track on the album (and not in a good way), it's reminiscent to the KorN "collaboration" on Biggie's Duets album. Whichever way you look at it, it's just undeniably out of place. But hey, if a heavy metal 2Pac remix is right up your alley, dig in! Another disappointment is the "How Do U Want It" remix sans K-Ci & JoJo. My main gripe with version is the producer's (in this case E.D.I. Mean's) lackluster beat. Yet another talented emcee tryin' to earn a name as a producer... Also, the album version of "Pain" featuring Styles P and Butch Cassidy is bittersweet in that the production behind its leaked predecessor was much more suitable. The original remix's beat expressed the emotions of a dreary, liquor-soaked confessional. The "new" version is much too pop-oriented, though the guest features still mesh well with 'Pac's expressive contemplations.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the album is strong and surprising in the midst of a lot of mediocre content that's continually put out. Focusing less on the glitz and glam of achieving radio coverage and more on maintaining a strong foundation with street-oriented hip-hop, Daz and fam achieve an overall respectable result on this latest 'Pac offering. And who better to do a 'Pac remix album than those closest to him when he was alive? While most posthumous remix projects seek to cover all sides of the map, Nu-Mixx Klazzics Volume 2 feels comfortable in keeping it at home on the left coast, thus giving this album a much more authentic vibe.For Your MP3 Player:
- "Picture Me Rollin'" (both versions: featuring (a) Kurupt & Butch Cassidy (b) The Outlawz)
- 'Staring Through My Rear View' (featuring Dwele)
- 'Lost Souls' (featuring The Outlawz)
- 'Initiated' (featuring Boot Camp Clik)
- 'What'z Ya Phone #' (featuring Candy Hill)
- 'Hail Mary (Rock Version)' (featuring The Outlawz & Kurupt)
- 'How Do U Want It'