Long before the days of the now-infamous Experience, Music For The Jilted Generation and personal favourite The Fat of the Land, Liam Howlett and his Prodigy cohorts were tirelessly remixing and reinventing some of the best known chart-singles around.
Once Invaders Must Die hit shelves in early 2009 creative, quirky remixes from the fathers of electronica and ‘big beat’ disappeared almost entirely. Making a triumphant return to there basement and bedroom roots, Liam Howlett (the key producer and DJ of the band) has turned his attention to rap’s biggest star, Jay-Z and added an edgy, Spitfire-esque sound to 99 Problems, arguably the rapper’s biggest worldwide hit.
For fans of Jay-Z you’ll be pleased to hear that Jigga’s lyrics remain virtually untouched as Liam adds in a handful of sounds and styles that closely resemble the sounds in Spitfire, noticeably the off-beat cowbell and jagged, distortion of guitars in the background.
The track is a welcome release amongst an admittedly weak month of singles and highlights not only the strength of Jay-Z’s early work on his defining Black Album but more so the talent Howlett has in bringing back a seven year old, over-played single and making it fresh and enjoyable again.
The track is simple in its construction and in essence brings very little new material to the table. Instead it proves that mixing together sounds and styles that were a decade and an ocean apart can produce brilliance.