Remix EPs are tricky. While it's always fun to hear new takes on a song, especially when the original was a quality tune in its own right, remix records don't exactly have a great track record as being essential releases. In the case of Vybz Kartel's Half on a Baby (Remixes), those trends have held firm.
"Half on a Baby" first appeared on Kingston Story, the Dre Skull-produced full-length which dropped earlier this year. It's an infectious slice of pop dancehall, a track with steppy drums, trance-leaning synths, and a whole lot of Auto-Tuned Kartel on the mic. It's certainly one of the stronger tunes from the LP, making it an obvious candidate for the remix treatment.
Austin's Dubbel Dutch, who recently signed to Mixpak himself, steps up first, delivering a version that's remarkably faithful to the source material. If anything, he cools things down, adding some white space and swapping in some lighter synths and a more inventive drum pattern. The end result doesn't hit as hard as the original, but it's a pleasant listen. More effective is the remix turned in by UK producer Mosca, who crafts a hooky piece of '90s-flavored house that nicely lays Kartel's vocals over some choice keys and weaves in some diva snippets to top things off. It's undeniably the best track here.
German duo Schlachthofbronx takes an interesting approach, as the pair's remix begins as a slow-burning, almost crunk spin on the song, utilizing little more than Kartel's voice and some hip-hop drums. However, things shift gears dramatically about halfway through, as Schlachthofbronx cranks the tempo and transforms the tune into a sampling of bass-heavy power soca, complete with chimpunk vocals. Bert on Beats attempts to create something similarly hard-hitting, but unfortunately turns in the lowlight of the EP, as his farty synths and wobbly bass simply overwhelm the song.
Rounding things out is a remix from UK outfit Funkystepz. While the crew's production usually relies a stripped-down, drum-heavy UK funky sound, here they've taken a maximalist approach, employing a variety of manic synths. There's a slightly tropical feel, but the drums almost sound like an afterthought. It's not a bad offering, but one can't help but wonder what something that played to Funkystpez's strengths could have sounded like.