There’s been talk for a while now about a sequel to the 1991 motion picture New Jack City being made, going all the way back to last year. Well, it’s true. Warner Bros., in all of their infinite wisdom, has recently decided to give the project the go-ahead. Not everyone was pleased with the idea. We really didn’t care one way or the other, considering the acting in the original film was horrendous and that said release would be going straight-to-
landfills DVD upon its release. It just seems like a train wreck in the making. What did intrigue us, however, is what would happen if the film’s soundtrack was updated. Of course, the music from the original stands up to this day, filled with hits from some of our favorite artists. Oh yeah, and Color Me Badd.
So, instead of recasting the film, our crew decided to do an Extreme Makoever: Soundtrack Edition, choosing five of the more well-known songs from the tracklist, recasting the original crooners with artists from (mostly) today, just to see who best could keep the songs alive. Some of our picks will surely surprise you (shock, even), which is more than fine. We had fun doing it, and look forward to hearing your choices as well.
Christopher Williams: “I’m Dreamin'”
Harlem: Anthony David. The song needs a strong voice, of course, and
AD’s got the chops. Plus, with Funk Puddin looming, ready to pounce on
as many covers as he can, Ant knows he better get on this before it’s
cute (of utmost importance), and nice on the vocals, Eric Roberson would kill
this. He would probably even re-enact some of the scenes from the
movie. Triple threat.
Butta: I would enlist Jaheim for this joint. His voice has that same gruff “come here, woman!” quality that CDub possessed.
Angie Stone. When I re-listened to this, hers was the first voice that
popped into my mind. And with no gender-reversal on the lyrics for
intrigue and authenticity.
Color Me Badd: “I Wanna Sex You Up”
Harlem: Joe, Musiq & Common. The original was so blunt, so cheesy
that it worked on so many levels. Add the fact that the four most
non-threatening men in the world were singing about sex *snicker* and
it was a song that the whole family could enjoy. I think “Sex” needs
to be umm, sexed up a bit, and Joe, on the comeback trail, and Musiq,
reclaiming his credibility, would probably play well trading verses in
an updated version. Throw in some Common for a few bars, and I smell a
Unless Jodeci can be resurrected from the dead…with Mr. Dalvin, of
complete without a “dumb b*tch” tacked on at the end. Make it more
current so it can be getting some airplay.
I wouldn’t pick a group to re-up this track because it’s not necessary.
Instead I’d pick a single artist to handle this one: D’Angelo. I know
that he’s trying to get away from the whole sex symbol debacle from the
Voodoo era, but in the event he gets his mind right, he would do some
thangs on this track.
Ro: Oh, D’Angelo.
There wouldn’t even have to be a video so you’d be comfortable. You
just play that piano, baby, backed sleepily by ?uestlove on drums.
We’ll just listen.
Keith Sweat: “Tellin’ Me No Again (There You Go)”
Harlem: Anthony Hamilton. Sure, nobody can whine like Keith, but that’s
not necessarily a bad thing. Hamiltone could bring a remake more of a
husky presence, letting the lady know that ‘no’ is not the correct
answer, instead of begging her not to say it again.
demanding vocals he always provides. Plus, this could be a good way to
stage his comeback.
Viv: Probably my favorite song on this
soundtrack, and while nobody will ever steal the crown from the “Kang of
Whining and Begging,” I could definitely get behind Anthony or Aaron.
Stepping outside the box a bit, I could also see Calvin Richardson
pulling this off. He voice does have a bit of that “please baby please” quality to it.
Butta: I think that Raheem DeVaughn
would put his thang down on this joint right here. Plus Lord knows that
he would hit more notes than Keith Sweat ever could.
Big yes on Anthony Hamilton. He would take this from being a mildly
compelling request to a deal-sealing standard. With him on this song, nobody is leaving. Nobody.
Johnny Gill: “I’m Still Waiting”
Harlem: Maxwell. This was a “Maxwell song” even before dude ever started
recording. Imagine ole boy flexing his vocal muscles all over this
joint that, to be honest, Johnny Gill killed. It would be in good hands with
Mr. Ascension. (Note: I thought about Bilal for this one, but his
histrionics would probably make me yearn more for the original every
time he sang it.)
ill Mami: Totally agree with Harlem. As long as Maxwell is in the cage like in the Johnny video, but shirtless and singing falsetto.
Viv: I’ll ignore Harlem talking slick
about Bilal…for now. I gotta step outside the box a bit and go with
underrated soul singer V. He has been backing Jill Scott on her Real Thing
tour, absoultely killing some of the classics. He’s got the velvety
vocals needed on this one.
choice to redo this track would be Eric Roberson. He would take this
song and straight take it to church. And Johnny’s crescendo toward the
end? Erro got that.
Ro: Though ill Mami’s
concept for a video gets my vote, I ultimately have to go with Raphael
Saadiq. He’d be able to re-interpret the song’s new jack flavor without
loosing its sensibilities entirely. I think his slightly higher,
tinnier vocal range would be great here.
Troop/LeVert/Queen Latifah: “For the Love of Money (Living for the City)”
simply because this song lends itself well to much histrionics and
melisma. I also think throwing someone unexpected like N’dambi would be
interesting and take the song to the back of an alley, much like how
this song was depicted in the movie.
I would make this a more hip-hop centric song and have Talib Kweli,
Common, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco pass the mic to each other. And who
would handle the vocals? None other than Cee-lo. He would bring the
funk that this jam needs.
Ro: Butta has gold with this one. I want to hear that.
Cee-lo would be beyond perfect. For fun I would throw Miss Jack Davey
amid his harmonies to keep it extra interesting. I can also envision
the Cool Kids and Wale spitting a verse or two.