From Illmatic to Stillmatic: The Remixes [EP]

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Released in summer 2002, just in time to capitalize on Nas' Stillmatic resurgence, From Illmatic to Stillmatic compiles a few previously released remixes from the mid-'90s alongside a new remix of "One Mic." The previously released remixes come from Illmatic (1994) -- "Life's a Bitch," "One Love," "It Ain't Hard to Tell" -- and It Was Written (1996): "Street Dreams" and "Affirmative Action." The three Illmatic remixes aren't huge departures from the original versions, featuring the same vocals but different productions. Conversely, the two It Was Written remixes are huge departures, featuring both different vocal tracks and productions. In fact, these could just as well be brand new songs: the "Street Dreams" remix by the Trackmasters is quite mellow with R. Kelly on the hook, most likely intended originally as a crossover single, and the "Affirmative Action" remix has the original the Firm ensemble -- Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ (the Cormega verse is notably missing) -- rapping over an interpolation of Marley Marl's "The Symphony." The "One Mic" remix concluding this EP is the real gem, however. It's not really much different from the original version, which was still getting substantial airplay at the time of this EP's release. The subtle difference lies within the production, which interpolates Mtume's oft-sampled "Juicy Fruit." It would have been nice, overall, to see more new mixes rather than strictly previously released ones. For instance, a remix of Nas' other big hit from Stillmatic, "Got Ur Self A...," would have been timely. Even so, From Illmatic to Stillmatic is a welcome addition to the Nas catalog, perfect for anyone looking to dig a little deeper without much effort or cost.

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