Just like last Tuesdays’ post on the Alkaholiks, I had some trouble finding a decent-sized cover of the single for this post. Plus this cover for the Lovesick 12′ is the closest I could find to a cover for this release of this particular remix of Gang Starr’s “Lovesick”.
This remix is done by someone named John Waddell, whose Discogs profile is pretty sparse; I think his Gang Starr remix might be his earliest release but in the field of hip hop, he did some work for Monie Love & Queen Latifah, among others. Educate me, ML readers, if you have any more info.
With that out of the way, let’s break down the two versions I’m comparing today: The first is the original “Lovesick”, produced by DJ Premier. The remix is “Lovesick (Upbeat Mix)”, produced by the aforementioned Waddell.
The Premier original floats by on a jaunty horn stab, a slow piano line and an understated bass line. Guru ends every verse with some variation of “I’m lovesick” which leads into Premo’s now trademarked scratch chorus: “Love…” “Sick, sick, sick…” I think the “sick” scratch is of Shock G of Digital Underground but I’m not totally sure. Anyone know?
The instrumental is pretty, understated and a lot slower in this version, as compared to Waddell’s remix indicated by the “Upbeat” tag applied to his version. The Upbeat Mix has a kind of 1920s-40s jazz feel to it, oddly enough seeming to foreshadow Premier’s work with Christina Aguilera in 2006 (for comparison’s sake, listen to Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man“). It features a catchy piano line that runs throughout the song, the bass line is a lot bouncier, and a trumpet enters the mix every few lines. Enhancing the jazz feel of the song is the fact that each of the aforementioned instruments solos at the end of each of Guru’s verses. The chorus has changed as well; Guru says “And now I’m lovesick”, the trumpets from the verses blare loudly and there is a little call-and-response that occurs twice per chorus:
Guru: ‘And now I’m lovesick.’
Backing vocals: ‘Hey hey hey!’
Sampled female vocal: ‘Lovesick!’
Backing vocals: ‘Ho ho ho!’
The whole package works really well, and actually manages to be about 50 seconds longer than the original, mostly from the new chorus. A nice addition to your Gang Starr collection (speaking of which, don’t sleep on Know The Ledge’s massive collection of Gang Starr rarities and treats. Here’s a link to pick up part 1 of their 5 part collection.)
I couldn’t find a video with the original version but they made a video for the Upbeat Mix, which I’ve embedded below. I won’t get into too much description for it, but it features Premo on the turntables, Guru walking around with some girls, a jazz band and um, dancers in baggy pants. It’s kinda cool to see Premier & Guru so young though. Listen to both versions below:
Gang Starr – Lovesick (John Waddell Upbeat Mix)
Bonus Beats: While I was searching for the video for “Lovesick”, I found this bizarre video of a bald German man lipsyncing to “Lovesick” wearing an unbuttoned shirt. He actually imitates Guru pretty well. I’m not going to embed it for your own sake but this amused the hell out of me. You can watch it here.