Legendary rapper, hip-hop producer, and founding member of the influential collective Digginâ€™ In The Crates Crew (D.I.T.C.),Â Lord FinesseÂ is back with his most ambitious project to date:Â Motown State of MindÂ [Physical Preorder], a set of handpicked Motown classics remixed and reimagined. The inspired new remix album will be available to stream onÂ June 26Â viaÂ Motown/UMeÂ and the remix ofÂ Marvin Gayeâ€™sÂ â€œI Want Youâ€Â is available to stream now (available here).Â
In true DJ style, the remixes will also be released as a 45 RPM box set on July 24 containingÂ seven 7-inch records on black vinyl featuring theÂ remixed version on Side A and the classic original on Side B.Â In support of the release, there will beÂ digital activationsÂ throughout June including livestreams and IG live takeovers from Motownâ€™s various handles.Â Curated andÂ arrangedÂ for the new generation, going back to the original masters/sources, the remixes include chart toppers such asÂ Michael Jacksonâ€™sÂ â€œI Wanna Be Where You Areâ€ andÂ DeBargeâ€™sÂ â€œI Like Itâ€Â alongside deep cuts from Motownâ€™s catalog likeÂ Sisters Loveâ€™sÂ â€œNow Is The Time.â€
â€œNow Is The Timeâ€ is a unique track as it was originally recorded in 1970 and in 1973 the group recorded a version of the song which was produced by Willie Hutch and appeared in the movieÂ The Mack, but was never officially released. As an ode to the 1973 version, Lord Finesse andÂ J ZoneÂ (producer, drummer, multi-instrumentalist, rapper, and writer) recreate the song as if it was released that year. The instrumental version of the track will be included as the B-side in the 45 box set.Â
TheÂ reimaginedÂ versions also feature collaborations from the likes ofÂ Dinky BinghamÂ (the CEO of production/publishing company Dinky B. Music and a producer of gold and platinum hits for artists such asÂ Changing Faces,Â New Edition,Â Kylie MinogueÂ andJaheim) as wellÂ as producerÂ Tall Black GuyÂ (whoâ€™s worked with artists such as Gilles Peterson, Lefto, Anthony Valadez, Jazzy Jeff, Questlove,Â amongst others).Â
Lord Finesse classifies the remixes to be hisÂ â€œbest project to date.â€ â€œIâ€™m my own worst critic. If I like it, I donâ€™t think no one can really tell me anything,â€ he explains. With that in mind, Finesse closes out the album with a mastermind remix of the critically acclaimedÂ Jackson 5Â medleyÂ â€œI Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save.â€ The standalone singles of those three original aforementioned tracks, alongside the release of their fourth single â€œI’ll Be There,” made the group the first to debut with four consecutive number one hits onÂ Billboardâ€™sHot 100.Â
Lord Finesse (born Robert Hall, Jr., in February 19, 1970)Â is a hip-hop artist and producer, hailing from The Bronx, N.Y. and best known as the leader of the D.I.T.C. rap crew. In 1989, Finesse and his former partner DJ Mike Smooth signed to Wild Pitch Records, and the next year, the duo released their debut albumÂ Funky TechnicianÂ (which featured production from future star beat-makers DJ Premier, Diamond D and Showbiz). Shortly thereafter, Finesse along with Showbiz & AG and Diamond D formed the popular New York underground crew ‘Diggin In The Crates’ (aka D.I.T.C.), future members would include Fat Joe, O.C., Buckwild and the late Big L.Â
Finesseâ€™s second solo albumÂ Return of the Funky ManÂ was released in 1991 and featured guest appearances from Percee P and AG as well as some songs produced by Finesse himself. The title track, â€œReturn of the Funky Man,” peaked at #13 on the Hot Rap Singles chart.Â Return of the Funky ManÂ started his career as a much respected hip-hop producer, most notably for The Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, his fellow D.I.T.C. members, as well as for his third album,Â The Awakening.
Finesse has also beenÂ notablyÂ recognized for having provided the vocal sample on the hook to “The Rockafeller Skank,” the 1998 hit single by British musicianÂ Fatboy SlimÂ as well as having producedÂ â€œThe Messageâ€ onÂ 2001Â byÂ Dr. Dre. He was also featured onÂ Handsome Boy Modeling School’sÂ 2004 track “Rock ‘N’ Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This) pt. 2,â€ collaborating with famous DJ’s as QBert, Grand Wizard Theodore and Jazzy Jay. Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park make appearances, as well as Rahzel formerly of The Roots.