On the heels of her massive Back to the Future remix singles series, DJ Rap is now releasing new singles again but she’s doing them in a similar format to the remix series in that there are multiple mixes for each track. “Draw 5th Gear” with MC Top Cat, released in April was the first of the new, experimental format and it’s done quite well, being among her top five most popular tracks on Beatport to-date.
Last week, Rap released a new track called “I Like This” and once again it has multiple mixes, all done by Rap herself. This time she’s even taken away the “main” or “original” mix nomenclature and is leaving it up to listeners to decide which is their favorite without all the prejudice of terms. It is genuinely hard to tell which is the base track, as each mix has elements that could have been added to or taken away from the original stems. It’s a fun guessing game, but Rap’s intention is likely more to get fans in touch with what they feel about each track to make their judgements.
The first few mixes of “I Like This” have quite subtle differences, but tones and placements vary more and more until the final “Chilled” mix, which is the most different from the rest. The “Rollers” mix sounds like it could be the original but perhaps not; there’s a vocal melody in the intro that’s not there in the “Rollers Let the Music Use You Mix.” The beat is the most stable in the “Rollers” mix but it also has a lot of techy synths that aren’t in other mixes and could have been added. There’s a lot of throwback to early neuro and techstep here, so there’s always room to play.
The “play” continues in the “Rollers Let the Music Use You” and “Blazing” mixes, both in the beat where Rap plays with syncopation and the intros and drops. “Rollers Let the Music Use You” has a drawn-out, ravey drop into a similar synth pattern as the “Rollers” mix but the “Blazing” mix’s drop doesn’t have as much of a wind-up before it. The synths here are also picked apart and re-laid, almost sounding backwards to the two “Rollers…” mixes. The “Blazing Track” mix is very similar to “Blazing” proper but the intro is much shorter and the build-up much more clubby. This mix will probably be a favorite for mixing.
Lastly is the “Chilled”mix which, as mentioned above, is the most different from the other four mixes. Its intro adds another vocal line and while the beat and drop are similar to the other mixes, that main techy synth is almost completely gone and the focus then is more on the syncopation of the beat, with the vocals filing in at some of the spots that need a bit of melody. It’s essentially stripped down and smoothed out but could still be used in a club because it’s so steppy.
While lots of producers have done this format of releasing multiple mixes in the past on vinyl, it’s a totally new thing that DJ Rap is doing releasing five at once on digital format. It’s both novel and old school and gives both fans and DJ a choice about mixing and listening options. Not labeling the original mix is also a fun way to force listeners to go with their gut rather than with what’s popular. Rap’s definitely turning heads with this technique just as much as her music always has.
“I Like This” in all its multi-mix glory is out now on DJ Rap’s Propa Talent label. Click here to stream or buy.