Rating The Remix: “Black And Yellow”

Rating The Remix: “Black And Yellow”

For the third installment of Rating The Remix, in which we examine remixes, freestyles, and reinterpretations of popular hip-hop and R&B tracks and determine out who redid it the best. Ratings are out of a possible 10 points.


Today’s Case: “Black And Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa



Seeing as how I’m originally from Cincinnati, I should automatically dislike Wiz Khalifa’s pro-Pittsburgh anthem “Black And Yellow,” but in the interest of professional music journalism, I can put my football grudges aside. Also, the song is really hard not to like, mostly due to the affable persona Khalifa has established over the course of several mixtapes, and Stargate’s frantic, synth-tinged production job. For those not informed, Stargate is a Norwegian production team responsible for a multitude of No. 1 singles over the past decade, including tracks for Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, and Beyonce. Khalifa’s debut single for Atlantic Records has caused a few other artists to try their hand at it. The results are below.






The Remixer: Rick Ross

The Mixtape: Internet only

The Breakdown: Rozay has made no secret of how much he likes Wiz Khalifa, at one point making an impasssioned plea for Khalifa to sign to his Maybach Music label (an offer that Khalifa passed on in order to sign to Atlantic). His enthusiasm definitely shows when he pops up on this remix of “Black And Yellow.” He delivers a nicely varied performance, mixing his usual braggart persona with a nice tinge of Khalifa’s nonchalant approach. Stargate’s beat even sounds like the kind of track that would fit nicely on Ross’ Teflon Don album. It’s a great fit, but unfortunately it’s a little too brief. A second verse from Ross would definitely have been welcome.

The Rating: 7.0





The Remixer: Donnis

The Mixtape: Internet only
The Breakdown: This isn’t too surprising to see, seeing as how Khalifa and Donnis are labelmates. What does come as quite a surprise is how much Donnis’s flow on this track resembles College Dropout/Late Registration-era Kanye West at times. There are times where he swerves into his own sound, but then he snaps right back into the aforementioned Kanye impression. It’s something I don’t remember noticing at all when listening to Donnis’s Fashionably Late mixtape. In this context, it’s all sorts of distracting.

The Rating: 5.0





The Remixer: Tyga

The Mixtape: Well Done

The Breakdown: So far, Young Money up-and-comer Tyga is the only MC to have appeared in some way in every edition of Rating The Remix, and just as he did in the past two installments, he delivers here. As he’s proved on past remixes, Tyga is less interested in making straight remakes of tracks he hops on and more about taking them in unexpexted directions. This time, it’s in the form of a weirdly reverbed sing-song part that he drops in the middle of his verses. It takes a strange turn near the end, though, when it devolves into chopped up parts from earlier in the song, which is kind of a head-scratcher.

The Rating: 7.5





The Remixer: Wale

The Mixtape: Black And Yellow (Mike Tomlin)
The Breakdown: This is what I want to hear from Wale. I don’t want to hear about his beef with Kid Cudi or whatever that whole thing was. I don’t want to hear any more collaborations with Lady Gaga (even as an unabashed fan of “Chillin'”). It’s tracks like these that got him positive attention in the past, and the way he makes Stargate’s beat his playground showcases everything great about Wale as a rapper. With this remix, he’s delivered an overstuffed present that just keeps giving.
The Rating: 8.5





The Remixer: Crooked-I

The Mixtape: Hip-Hop Weekly Reloaded Series

The Breakdown: Crooked-I has been doing the “free track once a week” thing for quite a while now, his take on “Black And Yellow” being No. 13 in his current cycle. Crooked-I does not seem content to let this series be a showcase for leftovers or anything less than awesome, as his version of Khalifa’s single shows. Where Khalifa’s track was celebratory, Crooked-I takes the grimy route, ripping the track to shreds, weaving tales of his rough upbringing and truly original taunts about how great of a rapper he is, with Stargate’s beat only making his taunts seem that much bigger. That he’s able to cover so much subject matter with so much energy and still leave room for a hook or two is a head-spinning feat.

The Rating: 9.0





The Remixer: Maino

The Mixtape: Internet only

The Breakdown: Finally, we take a look at last Rating The Remix’s co-champion. Maino’s version of “Black And Yellow,” unfortunately, doesn’t come close to reaching the heights of his masterful take on Chris Brown’s “Deuces.” Maino spends most of his verse engaging in somewhat lazy bragging and naming things that happen to be yellow. He’s still a welcome presence on the track, which makes taking a ton of points away from him hard, but this just isn’t one of his strongest performances, end of story.
The Rating: 5.0



The Verdict: Rick Ross got stoked, Donnis made a questionable stylistic choice, Tyga continued to sit on the cusp of something greater, and Maino couldn’t win two in a row. But it was Wale who reclaimed earlier glories, and Crooked-I who beasted this track in every way possible.


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