Everyone knows the feeling of one of your favorite artists snagging a popular artist for a remix, only to be disappointed by the outcome. However, every now and then, some remixes will be released that are just as good if not better than the original. This will highlight five of my favorites remixes of all time: “SUGAR” by BROCKHAMPTON featuring Dua Lipa, Ryan Beatty, and Jon B, “A$AP Forever” by A$AP Rocky featuring Moby, Kid Cudi, and T.I., “I Been” by Ari Lennox featuring Smino, “Photo I.D.” by Remi Wolf featuring Dominic Fike, and “Dragonball Durag” by Thundercat featuring Guapdad 4000 and Smino.
After the initial “SUGAR” took off and became BROCKHAMPTON’s most streamed song, the group tapped Dua Lipa to deliver an immaculate remix. bearface opens it up with a captivating intro before Ryan Beatty adds an acoustic rendition of the hook. Dua Lipa makes her entrance on the first verse, taking the first line of Dom McLennon’s original verse as she embarks on a journey during her eight lines. Matt Champion and Jon B each attribute their own short but sweet verses, while Kevin Abstract and Joba collaborate for an alluring outro, tying the theme of “SUGAR” together as they repeat, “I’m your candyman / I’ll be your candyman.” While the remix may not have the almost 400 million streams of the original, the 50 million is a massive underappreciation of this greatness.
The original “A$AP Forever” is quite literally one of my favorite songs ever (also happens to have the greatest music video ever), and there’s no denying the greatness of the subsequent remix. The remix opens with a monologue by T.I. before Rocky commences his impeccable verse. Where Moby’s outro initially stood is replaced by Kid Cudi, who is just physically incapable of delivering anything short of astounding. He begins his verse discussing his mental health, especially during times where he had to work extremely hard to get to where he is today. He goes on to portray his path to prosperity, expressing the message that his music and he himself can be a guide to the younger generation. Although the outro from Khloe Anna and Moby is shortened, it is as beautiful as ever, capping off a beautiful track.
Ari Lennox released a trio of remixes off of her debut album, Shea Butter Baby, including “I Been” featuring Smino. Putting Smino on a track is essentially a cheat code to glory – yet Ari Lennox is the real show stopper on both the original and remix. Her sultry vocals blend perfectly with the jazz influenced instrumental as she tries to get over a manipulative relationship. She caps off the track with an ever-important 90 second dialogue, as she says, “And please don't be in a situation where that person's tearing you down mentally, emotionally, physically.”
On the remix, Smino opens up in usual Smino manner – witty lines, perfect flows, and an unmistakable voice. From “Okay Ari / Are we recordin’?” to “Ari can play the Aretha and blow all our smoke to the Lordy” to “Missing your lake got me Erie,” Smino truly is one of the best lyricists out there. He ends his verse posing a question to Ari, asking where she’s been – the perfect transition to circle back to Ari’s original verses, as she tries to explain to Smino and herself what is happening.
Although not technically a remix, after “Photo I.D.” took off on TikTok, Remi Wolf found a perfect partner for a remix – Dominic Fike. The track is the epitome of Remi’s unique energy-riddled style, while Dom’s casual yet incredible vocals couldn’t fit any better. He begins his verse singing, “Aight, pictures of my friends on my Instagram / And photos of my toes on my OnlyFans,” as he reminisces of happier times, forever kept by the photos on his desk. Remi emphasizes the playful nature of the track throughout – however it is the video that truly gets that point across. It’s crazy, it’s fun, it’s so Remi, and that’s what I love about it.
Thundercat created quite the power-trio on the remix of his sensational “Dragonball Durag,” recruiting Smino and Guapdad 4000, both of which deliver some of their best verses to date. Similarly to “Photo I.D.,” the track is certainly playful, as all three center their verses around tying their durag and extrapolate it further than you could imagine. Smino’s verse once again is riddled with witty lines as he displays the full toolbox of flows and vocal ranges, while Guapdad channels the energy and some. He kicks it into fourth gear as absolutely obliterates his verse, leaving me just baffled that this remix never eclipsed more plays than the original. This is one of my favorite tracks ever, let alone remixes.