REVIEW: Todd Terry vs Hip Hop – Dramatical: Volume 1


By Spun Counterguy

DJ, remixer, and producer Todd Terry has been fulfilling all three of those roles from pretty much the beginning of both house and hip-hop’s respective births. He’s made a name for himself by being at the forefront of ‘deep house,’ developing the early remix phenomenon by being responsible for such massive crossover hits as “Missing” by Everything But The Girl and producing tracks for such artists as PM Dawn. So to the Todd Terry fan, Dramatical will come as no surprise and will be sure to please expectations.

As the album’s title indicates, it’s a full-on collection of remixes and mash-ups of Terry’s, featuring mostly old school hip-hop artists. Though a driving house thump is the most consistent theme, a good chunk of the tracks are straight-on hip-hop, some with a classic funk feel while others delve into unapologetic Triton dirty south beats. “Drop Down” (with Smif-N-Wessun), “Touch Me” (with Chioma), and the chopped and screwed “Deeper” could be current club hits if promoted as such.

At times, if you were to judge some of the tracks by dropping the needle at random areas, you’d be missing out of some big payoffs. “All the Massive,” a mash up featuring KRS-ONE and Blondie’s “Rapture,” starts off solidly but doesn’t really go anywhere interesting until the last two minutes, which are classic techno gold. 50 Cent’s “Get it” kicks in about 1:30 before wandering away from a killer groove into a 8-bit daydream. And some tracks are so abstract that they don’t quite work at all, like Jodeci’s “Freek N You,” which sounds like the vocals and synths are in two different keys.

But of the cuts to seek out, one is Eric B & Rakim’s “Eric B is President,” which is just a good solid rolling jam that could’ve been produced when the duo were at their peak. And Take 6 (one of the handful of non hip-hop source material), an acapella gospel group from the ’90s, gets a low-key house injection on “Spread Love.” “Suga Suga Suga,” featuring the aforementioned vocalist Chioma, has all the needed elements of a top 40 radio hit.

But the best thing about this collection is for the house DJs out there, many of the cuts are just going to be big crowd pleasers. One can call upon both current electro house energy and late ’80s/early ’90s nostalgia with such gems as Black Sheep’s “Back on the Scene” and Greg Nice’s “Bac 2 Da Old School.”

All in all, Dramatical is a gonna be a Todd Terry fan-pleaser and possibly could garner a few producer call ups from the young hip-hop bucks.

Released February 2013 on Inhouse Records.