Throwback Thursday (Mixtape Mashup edition)-The Billprint
Mash up mixtapes are my favorite thing because when you flip the beat from a classic song, you hear the lyrics naked again on that first listen. Without the sonic universe seemingly fated for these words you hear them differently and feel yourself entering something new. When it works few things match it.
The Billprint does a superb job showcasing Jay and Bill. The song combinations are outrageous. While most fans of both Bill Withers and Jay-z could have come up with the Use Me/Izzo compromise, how many people would have combined Better Off Dead and Jigga That N__? How many people could imagine Girls Girls Girls parting like the red sea for Bill Withers to perform the show stopping chorus to Can We Pretend? Coming back to this 2009 mixtape is shocking.
The natural problem that mash ups have is that they destroy the original fabric of the project. If you jam Al Green into Illmatic you don’t get Illmatic as an end result. The Billprint doesn’t have that problem at all. Jay intended it as a pathway leading away from the synthetic Neptunes/Swizz Beatz sound dominating that time; a way to bring a more soulful richness to the bass driven sound of the genre. In the same sense Bill Withers first album is called Just As I Am, his next one Still Bill, every song carried with it a born-from-the-street realism. He didn’t need pageantry or advanced harmonies and dance moves he could rely on his voice and the absolute unmatched brilliance of his songwriting. So hearing Jay destroy Prodigy on Takeover while Harlem from Withers Live at Carnegie Hall album plays…the combination makes more sense than it should, this is still the spirit of taking over without any pretense.
Both of these artists provided the blueprint for countless artists. All the time making the muted anthemic and if you listen to this version of Never Change you’ll hear why it makes so much sense.
Stream or Download The Billprint below: