Recognized HW&W contributor Mike Gao has just released the latest in an ongoing thread of remixes created in collaboration with friends. This time, we see a downtempo and soulful flip of Boston rapper Cousin Stizz‘s track “Dirty Bands“, coming from his album Suffolk County. Originally produced by Tee-WaTT and M. Ali, the song describes Stizz’s lifestyle and displays his talent and momentum behind the mic. Mike Gao’s version throws the vocals into an entirely new space, one of heavy percussion and oriental chords. A diverse and consistently interesting take, this track provides new energy and life for the already-solid piece. It’s currently up for free download here.

It started off as an edit so I incorporated the original beat by Tee-WaTT & M.Ali at first, but Farid was able to finesse an acapella so the rest of the beat is more of a remix. Shout out Nehzuil for telling me to mess with the bass notes.

The track begins with a pitched operatic voice being pulled high and low around the muted arpeggiated tones from the original. Cousin Stizz begins his first verse after a short snare roll while endless clicks and clacks of percussion circulate the space. These elements continue to evolve and replace one another as a stronger cascade of plucky synths carry over into the spotlight. The percussion is removed and replaced by a distant ensemble of string strokes and light strikes of marimba. A vocaloid effect is used on Cousin Stizz’s vocals for a short period while the dynamic and distorted sub bass rattles underneath. The rhythm and operatic voice continue until the song’s close.

Download the track for free here!