Artist: Fatz Belvedere
Album: Mobb Remixes Volume 1
Label: Digital Mobb Muzik
Rating: 2 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Having built a rep as an underground producer and remixer, Mannhattan resident Fatz Belvedere’s hustle recently paid off as he entered talks with Suge Knight on a production deal for the latest incarnation of Death Row. Unfortunately, on listening to “Mobb Remixes Volume 1” its clear that if this deal does come about, then the artists of Death Row aren’t gonna be moving major units.
“Woah… a little bit down on dude already aren’t you – what’s the deal?” I hear you ask.
Well its like this – blend tapes are all good – often songs get a fresh twist when laid over another familiar beat. But when cats start thinking that they can add their own amateurish beats to signed artists’ acappellas and fool everyone into thinking that they’ve made a joint even nicer, I gotta call it out.
Take for example the remix of ‘Life’s A Bitch’, one of the classic openers from “Illmatic”. Here Fatz strips away the warm Gap Band sample, choosing instead to lay the Nas and AZ verbals over some computerized strings and a drum pattern with a distinct lack of kick. Couple this with some offkey moaning on the hook, ganked from a Ms Dynamite track, and you have the perfect recipe for blandness.
Elsewhere, similar things occur on Kanye’s ‘Get Em High’ where he somehow manages to reuse the same bassline, while stripping out most of the bass, and again using a feeble set of drums, and on Cassidy’s ‘Tha Problem’ where he removes any trace of ‘X To The Edge Of Panic’ and instead substitutes several horrific techno-ish effects. The original song was poor to begin with, but this move definitely tips it into ignore mode.
The other thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the fact that Belvedere seems to have used the first ten acappella tracks he could find – the tracks he’s chosen to remix do feature some current cuts, but sprinkled in among these are two Lil Kim album cuts, and a throwaway Missy / Tweet collab off the “Honey” soundtrack.
There are a few interesting spots where his production approach does have some mildly successful results. One of the Kim tracks, ‘The Sound Of Goodbye’ was originally built around a couple of sped up soul samples – these have been removed, and instead substituted with a mellow piano and string concoction that actually supports Kim’s Anti-Junior Mafia rantings very well; and ‘Project Hallways’ features Jinx Da Juvy and Nas breaking down the stereotypical black male NY hangout over a mournful piano track.
These are the exceptions to the rule though. In most instances on here Belvedere has erased all traces of the musical ingredients that made some of these songs successful in their original format, and in their place laid down some cold soul-less computerized beats. His work is too glossy, too shiny, too technological to ever really work over Hiphop, an artform synonymous with old dusty breaks, and analogue inputs. And when he switches to R’n’B, often his beats sound clumsy and ‘off’, with the worst example being his rework of Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ which after listening to SIX times, I still cannot work out how he decided to run the beats under her vocals like he did.
I hate to sound so negative, but with the rap industry hungry for fresh producers with something new to bring to the boards, anyone working with Fatz Belvedere, on this evidence, won’t spark much interest. This cd should have stayed in his bedroom along with his wishes of being a top-rate producer.