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Da Derrty Versions: The Re-invention [Explicit Version] [Explicit]

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
Even considering the sudden proliferation of excellent rap remixes no doubt prompting its release, Nelly's Da Derrty Versions: The Reinvention was a questionable undertaking from a listener standpoint. After all, it's no secret that by and large there are two kinds of remix albums: those that are intended to showcase production genius, often expanding upon a given popular artist's work creatively, and those that are intended to cash in, often recycling a given popular artist's work commercially -- and while the former albums are generally interesting complements (think underground dance music), the latter ones are generally throwaway stopgappers (think Bobby Brown's Dance!...Ya Know It!). Nelly's venture into the remix arena aims to be an interesting complement to his canon -- an album that is intended to showcase the production genius of his right-hand man, Jason "Jay E" Epperson, and expand upon big hits like "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)," "Hot in Herre," and "Dilemma" with new beats and guest rappers. For instance, Nelly even narrates the album in an interviewer/interviewee format that is intended to shed light on his creative process (and also showcase his cooler-than-thou fronting). However, whether the overall intentions here are sincere or not, Da Derrty Versions ends up playing like a cash-in. The main problem is that Nelly seemingly put more effort into the album's narration than its actual music -- his raps and hooks are pasted as is, for the most part. Epperson ends up carrying most of the weight, producing pretty much everything here (the Jermaine Dupri remix of "Dilemma" and a pair of David Banner remixes being notable exceptions). Of course, when you let a producer remix his own songs, within a strictly commercial context with few liberties, the output isn't going to be vastly different from the input, and that's most certainly the case here. Thankfully, there's an ace new song, "Iz U," and a couple good third-party contributions: E-40's typically E-40 lacing of "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)," and David Banner's remix of "Air Force Ones," which also features Eightball. It's also a pleasure to hear Ron Isley's timeless crooning on the "Pimp Juice" remix. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi