Michael Jackson - HIStory (J Dilla/Ummah Mix)

Despite being the title track of one of his comeback sets, Michael Jackson's "History" is one of the lesser entries in his oeuvre, not meriting a place in most of his best-of collections out there. The actual track has a Beatlesque feel, reminiscent in its opening fanfare and continuing tempo of "All You Need Is Love" with the actual melody sounding like Michael had "Come Together" on repeat rotation while composing. The lyrics are uplifting though with the chorus exhorting us to:

Every day create your history
Every path you take you're leaving your legacy

Here's the original:

A nice enough track even though portentously announcing some big dates on human history is laying it on a little thick, I feel.

Moving on to mixes, I've never listened to very many remixes of Michael's songs and whatever little I came across were not particularly impressive. The Tony Moran remix of History (from "Blood On The Dancefloor") is a case in point. This, apparently, was the single release:

I have to disagree with the YouTube poster's title. Whatever the track has by way of uniqueness is drowned out beneath layers of heavy house beats and organs - it's the sonic equivalent of slathering ketchup on jafrani pulao. No wonder this song never received its due. It took a producer of the calibre of J Dilla and the rest of the Ummah (Q Tip and Ali Shaheed Mohammed) to actually perform an excavation/reclamation and give us something far surpassing the original. Gone are the opening bombast and the voice overs. Instead, we have something loping and sinuous and, in true J Dilla style, highly understated. Listen to it yourself:

There's another version, also by the Ummah, the Urban Radio Edit, which I don't think is as good, although again far superior to the first two versions:

RIP Michael and J-Dilla.

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- October 24, 2009 11:44 AM // Music