Moodymann and J Dilla's younger brother remix a cover of a soul classic.
The title track, which became so well known that Nike used it in a trainer ad, has since been covered several times, most recently by Nightmares On Wax for his eighth full-length, Shape The Future. From that came Deep Shadows Remixes, a four-track EP that pays homage to the track's origins, pairing reworks by the Detroit artists Illa J and Moodymann with two versions by Nightmares On Wax. His original cover, featuring the piercing vocals of the London singer Sadie Walker, sets a strong blueprint, with sunny sounds and a shapeshifting beat combining for a slice of classy pop. The "N.O.W. Club Mix" is more constrained and therefore less compelling, making only sparing use of the lovely vocal alongside disco flourishes and a rolling groove.
Both Detroit remixes are much more creative. Illa J, a rapper, producer and the younger brother of J Dilla, takes the upbeat funk of the original cover and super-sizes it, strapping the full vocal to a bassy beat, whistling melody and radiant synths. His own verse, veiled in a swirl of echo, is smooth and heartfelt. "Believe me Dilla, understand, it's hurting," he raps. Moodymann goes moodier, crafting a sombre cut that moves fluidly between groovy downtempo and 100-BPM house. Soft keys, ashen synths and low-end rumble create a dank atmosphere that casts the vocal and its heart-wrenching lyrics, roughly 40 years after they were written, in a powerful new light: "He doesn't know just how I feel / He don't seem to care / But my love is real."