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How To Cut And Paste: 80s Edition
he plan for stylusmagazine.com’s review of “DJ Yoda’s How To Cut And Paste: 80s Edition” is to get through all however many words of it without a single mention of any of the following: I Love the 80s, That 80s Show, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Timmy Mallett doing ironic appearances at university graduation balls, the puppets from Rainbow doing ironic appearances at nightclubs, Pat Sharpe doing ironic appearances at Satan rituals, schooldisco.com, the cover of the Girls Aloud album, electroclash, that moustache that Johnny Knoxville grew about a year ago, or Hulk Hogan signing for NWA:TNA. No, I’m going to review this album devoid of all kitsch context (kitschtext?) and solely on its merits alone.
Oh, like the fuck am I.
For the uninitiated, Yoda’s How To Cut And Paste series of albums are as close as you’ll get to an institution in both UK hip-hop and, more importantly, mix-tapery. In an age when the genre a) isn’t ever on tape b) isn’t mixed properly c) consists either of DMC first round elimination fader-onanism or pseudo-underground methods of promoting upcoming major label releases (hey DJ Whookid, how ya doin’?), Yoda’s bucked the trend. Indeed, he’s gone from ukhh.com basically going “OMGWTFLOL2003!!!1” at the fact that he was getting shelf-space in HMV, to his current state, where (in Lancaster HMV) he gets equal shelf-space as canine-aspiring archbishop-offspring Tim Westwood. He’s a big noise, and his rep has only been bumped up by his live shows, rocking white university students in Jurassic 5 tee-shirts in all four corners of the UK. How’s he gotten there? He puts out quality work, both live and, more importantly, on CD, where he cuts together a spot-on balance between humour and actually good music. F’real. Crazy, no? Earlier CDs in the series have given us blazers like Richard Pryor freebasing from the likes of Kerosene Willis Drummond, Format and Abdominal… stuff I and nuff others heard for the first time on his work.
So, so far so good. But here, on his third release in three months (yes, I have covered all of them for Stylus), he’s switched lanes, and lobbed us what basically amounts to an on-wax, extend version of his 80s pop-megamixes from his live set (and, to a lesser extent, How To Cut And Paste: Volume 2). So instead of mainstream club bangers and underground pearls being dropped, he spins instead Hall and Oates, Blondie, Herbie Hancock, Grandmaster Flash, Nena, and the like.
Noticing something of a pattern here? Can you maybe guess what video games the boy was playing when he came up with the track listing, perhaps? Tommy Vercetti, powder bluesuits, discovering that you can do keep-uppies with the beach ball in the hotel swimming pool? HALF OF THIS ALBUM IS ALREADY ON THE FUCKING VICE CITY SOUNDTRACK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
I mean, think about that for a second. If somebody put out a mixtape wherein 50% of the material was already on, say, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (no, don’t make a DJ Whookid joke, it won’t be funny), wouldn’t you maybe perhaps possibly think to yourself “This… this is fucking lazy”.
That’s what’s wrong with this album. I’m torn between giving it 10.0 and 0.0. It is the laziest album you’ll hear all year. Content wise, it’s probably the best, but is there anyone out there, for instance, who doesn’t like “Crash” by The Primitives (apart from DJ Whookid, obviously). Or “Doin’ The Doo”? There’s no actual skill involved in slotting together a load of records that are a) already famous and b) you already know people like. That’s not a “mixtape”. That’s Now That’s What I Call Music. Indeed, with the exception of Nice & Smooth and Slick Rick, there’s nothing on here you won’t find on the sort of CDs they stock by discount supermarket checkouts. Yes, in its defence, the man is a DJ (letting the records talk for themselves) rather than a turntablist (look at this new trick I’ve created that makes a noise like a door farting), and, yes, the 80s film samples he drops are on-key throughout (only one Breakfast Club sample, though?), and, yes, Bristollian former-future-of-British-rap collective Aspects turn up to spit a freestyle sequel to their 2001 dreadful-beat-but-damn-that’s-some-nice-flow classic “My Genre”, “It’s My Genre II” over the “Word Up” instrumental.
Even with all of that, even accepting this is a good, nay, great album: this is wedding disco DJing, pure and simple. If I’m harsh, this is just because the boy is capable of so much more, as evidenced by… well, everything he’s touched in his career.
My boy Ferris Bueller opined “You might think this is a bit childish, but then again, so is high school”. Replace “high school” with “mixtapes”, and you’ve got a capsule review there.
Signed, yours sincerely, Dom Passantino
(cue Simple Minds)
Reviewed by: Dom Passantino
Reviewed on: 2003-12-02
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