“They hit the club and turn the crowd into a mosh pit!” Wocka Flocka Flame yelps a bunch of times, each successively higher-pitched than the last, on his Flosstradamus collaboration “Mosh Pit,” a track that, in its original version, hit number 1 on Beatport’s Hip-Hop list nine days after its December 13, 2013 release date.
Now that’s what you call a hit – and a formula, easily replicable, not to mention remixable – “Mosh Pit” got the treatment from Meaux Green, Caked Up and Headhunterz during its initial moment of contact. So it stands to reason that a new version would do just as well.
Remixes may extend a track’s life, but often they do less well than the original, and that’s the case with “Mosh Pit” as well. The track has two new incarnations on Flosstradamus & Wacka Flocka Flame’s PLURNT: The Remixes EP – currently number 87 on the Beatport Releases chart, and both are charting decently: TroyBoi’s remix is currently number 40 Hip-Hop (it was number 24 on Wednesday), while Willy Joy’s is number 31 on the Dubstep chart (down from number 18 on Monday). But the new EP also features new versions of two other well-charting Flockadamus pair-ups that are besting their blueprints.
The original version of “Drop Top,” featuring Travis Porter and released at the beginning of April 2014, peaked at number 3 late that month. Today, on its seventh day in the Hip-Hop top ten, it has reached number 1. Then again, peak position isn’t the same thing as long-term sales: “Drop Top” is the top track on Flosstradamus’s artist top ten, one position ahead of Meaux Green’s version of “Mosh Pit,” which peaked at number 5 last June 3. (The original “Mosh Pit” is fourth on the Flosstradamus list.)
“TTU (Too Turnt Up)” is another story – or two. On the Hip-Hop chart, the TroyBoi version is a respectable number 9 (it was fifth on Tuesday). But the Valentino Khan remix, with its serrated bass builds and water-torture keyboard plinks, is now in its third day at number 1 Dubstep – a good sight better than the original version, which peaked at number 5 on the Hip-Hop list last July. A ready-made chant – or instrumental hook – can go nearly anywhere.
WHAT’S THAT SOUNDALIKE?
The PLURNT EP shows that it’s common enough for a track to appear twice in a Beatport Top Ten in different mixes. More unusual is what’s happening on the Pop / Rock list right now. At number 5 is Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” – currently in its tenth week atop the Billboard Hot 100. And at number 9 is “Uptown Funk (BBop and amp Roksteadi Ext Remix).” No, not the Ronson & Mars track: This one is by some entity calling itself Band of Funk, which has no other releases on Beatport – or anywhere else.
Sound-alike cover versions go back to the 1950s, when cheapo labels like Bell Records would record bad carbon copies of rock & roll hits and sell them for cheap in order to grab dollars from the credulous.
For decades, the practice was generally limited to drugstores and other non-music-intensive retailers. But the Internet has expanded the practice considerably – see Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long,” which in 2008 peaked lower on the chart than a sound-alike “group” called Hit Masters’ version since the Devil Without a Cause wouldn’t allow his version to be sold digitally. (For more background, see Maura Johnston on Pitchfork last month. Naturally, that was “covered” too, by a piece we won’t link to.)
The same thing is at work here. The difference, bizarrely: Band of Funk’s version costs $1.99, while Ronson & Mars’ is 50 cents cheaper.