Once dubbed as the next DJ Shadow, RJD2 introduced his signature style of eerie horn laden beats, repeated odd verbatim samples coexisting with cinematic basslines to the world with his last album, Deadringer. Easily one of the most complete instrumental albums of 2002, RJD2 proved he was more than just a bedroom beat maker, utilizing sound samples from jazz, electronic and old school soul.
The man featured on Deadringer with a split open skull complete with oozing blood returns with an EP of Deadringer remixes, B-Sides, and one new track.
Jumping off with an original LP cut, "The Horror" is vintage RJD2. The horns, the bassline, the spoken word samples, they are all there combining to form a disturbing instrumental. Most of the remixes are straight fire, but one, "Ghostwriter" remix diverges to far from the original and tries to cover new ground. It features a mellower beat in favor of funky drums, and a weird space funk guitar replacing the original guitar rip. RJD2 is not at his best on this track because he fails to deliver his own signature sound, instead branching off into unknown territory, possibly experimenting with the general public. In fact, it almost seems as if the intention of this EP was to grab the attention of all those backpackers that slept on Deadringer. The "Final Frontier" remix features basically the whole Def Jukie roster; Vast Aire, Aesop Rock, Murs and Blueprint. These emcees effortlessly tear up the beat and ride the posse cut down to its bare essentials maintaining unreal lyrical composure over the pristine bassline. The EP also includes the instrumental of this remix, but it just doesn't seem as dope minus the emcees. The "June" remix enhances Copywrite's original glow with a starker setting as the original guitar licks are replaced by a reverse bass guitar.
The lone new track, "Sell the World," is unfortunately the weakest cut on the EP. The track is just too slow, and doesn't keep pace with the heat brought by the Deadringer remixes.
The B-Side material is delicious. "Bus Stop Bitties (originally found on the "Let the Good Times Roll" twelve-inch features a Moby-like vocal sample speaking on southern food.
If this EP was a marketing scheme, kudos to the kids at Def Jukie, because while the material is rather different, it never strays too far from the sound found on Deadringer which makes this album the perfect prequel.