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Jay-Z meets The Beatles

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Most of you have probably heard of this album, but never heard any of the music from it. There’s a reason for that, unfortunately… but first, I’ll give you a little background information to shed some light on this masterpiece.

Reads the Rolling Stone review of the album:

“I had seen that there were these a cappella Jay-Z records,” says Danger Mouse, a New York native who has found his greatest success in England. “I was listening to the Beatles later that day, and it just hit me like a wave. I was like, ‘Wait a minute — I can do this.’ “

Yup – this incredible DJ has brought together the two opposite sides of the spectrum – classic Beatles tracks, and modern rap. That’s right!

Beatles’ White Album + Jay-Z’s Black Album = The Grey Album

Unfortunately, before the album could hit retail shelves, EMI started throwing cease-and-decist orders at Dangermouse’s studio. Now, the only way to witness this wonderful music is to find it online. I’m not going to provide any links here, but it’s not too hard to find.

Now, on to the music… it’s hard to believe that nobody made this connection much sooner. It really seems like a match made in heaven. Everything matches out really well, and the blend is eerily perfect. Again, Rolling Stone gives some excellent examples of how each individual pairing works so well:

Jigga’s ubiquitous “Change Clothes” is now spit out over some sped-up harpsichords from the Beatles’ “Piggies,” infusing the track with a goofy bounce. On the other end of the spectrum, the gunning guitar blasts from “Helter Skelter” are cleverly spliced throughout Jay’s arrogant “99 Problems,” giving the track a rumbling metal undertone that recalls Run-DMC’s Raising Hell.

All in all, this is incredible music. I especially love “99 Problems”, because of not only the lyrics, but how well it works with the Beatles’ riffs. Final words: You know you’re dealing with a well-blended mix when you can’t tell whether you downloaded the original by accident, never having heard it.

Rating: 5.5/6 Stars

by Andy Quinn.

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About Andrew Quinn

  • Actually, I don’t think there was ever any chance of this album actually hitting store shelves. The Beatles, through Apple Records, are notoriously protective of their recordings. Dangermouse could have taken the “get permission” route and would have been turned down. It’s just as well that the Grey Album has become an underground hit. I hate hip-hop, personally, but even I have to admit that this album is interesting, if only as a different slant on the White Album material.

  • I thought this was great stuff too, but have to admit i was a little perplexed by all the attention it got. Granted, its a novel way of remixing such malarkey, incorporating only music from the white album to run with Jay Z’s lyrics, but come on, its been done for years. Kazaa has been awash with this kind of stuff since forever.
    Having said that, i thought it was indeed an interesting work, and i was quite fond of Jay Z’s original too (and also the album about the white cover), although i prefered his earlier The Blueprint.
    Interesting also, and in my opinion it actually works better, is The Blacker Album, which takes Jay-z and slams him on top of music from Metallica’s record by the same name.
    But kudos to Danger Mouse, for getting folks interesting in the “remix as art” thing again, since its all too easy to remember those dreadful happy-hardocore remixes that filled b-sides in the mid-90s.