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Chicago duo The Hood Internet are known throughout the blogosphere for their maddening mashups of hip-hop and classic pop tunes. However, they are hoping to change that perception later this year with the release of their first album of entirely original compositions. With that record in the works, the pair have released a single that finds them halfway between their old reappropriation and their future creation: a cover of the xx’s “VCR” with completely fresh production.
For the task, The Hood Internet are flanked by a trio of young talent. Elizabeth Harper (vocalist for former OTM spotlighted band Class Actress) handles the choruses on “VCR,” with rising rapper Freddie Gibbs tossing in some new verses and Ninjasonik‘s Telli lending his talents as well. Together, these four forces combine to breathe a lot of life into the xx’s composition–originally a sleepy, mid-tempo tune.
In The Hood Internet’s hands, “VCR” retains some of its moodiness but the dirge-like qualities of the original are supplanted with bursts of enthusiasm, particularly during Gibbs’ sections. The reworked version is carried along by a simple drum machine beat, wobbly synthesized bass, and a cowbell so assertive and in your face you’d think it was lifted from a Beasties cut.
By The Hood Internet’s standards, “VCR” isn’t necessarily a party track but it does have the sort of vitality you would expect from one of their productions. Whether or not this augurs a wider breadth of emotional range on their forthcoming LP remains to be seen, but it certainly bodes well for their reintroduction to listeners.