This thing where Mad Decent and Blaqstarr repurpose old Blaqstarr tracks for 2014 is weird as hell, man. For Baltimore club heads, tracks 'Feel It In The Air' and 'Hands Up Thumbs Down' (released earlier this year as "The Blaq-Files EP" along with 'Lemme Hump U' and 'Slide To The Left') are classics and we hear them every time we go out somewhere on a Friday night, and look, we get it, the rest of the world hasn't heard these things yet, but something about it is just kind of, well, off. Back when "The Blaq-Files" (which actually features some of these songs re-recorded, Blaq told Al Shipley in December 2013) was released in January of this year, it came with a typically icky introduction from Diplo, which has plenty to SMH at for sure, including this line: "While most producers were making records for the radio, Blaqstarr was making a soundtrack to murder people with by using a screaming Lil Jon sample played like a piano." Yikes! I thought we were past this Bmore-fetishizing junk.
Anyway, it is great to get these tracks out there and visible because they haven't lost any of their bite more than a decade later and indeed, the noisy futurism of dance music right now makes it clear they were well ahead of their time. But it also just feels regressive and frustrating. Now, there's a new, totally OK music video for 'Hands Up Thumbs Down,' directed by Lotfy Nathan of "12 O'Clock Boys" fame and done in the director's stylized, vérité approach. Blaqstarr doesn't appear, and neither does Rye Rye, whose vocals appear on 'Hands Up, Thumbs Down,' which makes it all feel a bit underwhelming. Sure, it looks nice (echoes of the far-more-compelling video for 'Shake It To The Ground'), but something about it doesn't seem entirely right with us, you know?