I Shot the Sheriff, but I Didn’t See the Movie

February 13, 2010

Mantronik vs. EPMD – “Strictly Business” from Blade: The Soundtrack [TVT – 1998] and Dance Dance Revolution (1st Mix) [Konami/Toshiba/EMI – 1998]

Find it on Amazon!

Note: This is another one of those records that has been discontinued and is hard to find. Again, get it any way you can.

When I was younger I felt weird about buying soundtracks for films that I hadn’t seen, as though I wouldn’t understand the music or that I hadn’t earned the privilege. This was especially troublesome when I was really young and couldn’t get into R-rated movies that had promising soundtracks (Lost Highway). Thirteen years and one Mortal Kombat Annihilation later, I no longer have this hangup.

A recurring case of my digging the music for a movie I still haven’t seen is the Blade series. I haven’t seen the movies. I read the Rise of The Midnight Sons miniseries in Ghost Rider where he made his first appearances. I read the Nightstalkers comic books in the early 90s. I even caught a few episodes of the TV show on Spike, so I feel like I can summarize the series.

The title character of the Blade movies is a superhero who is part human and part vampire. Blade’s powers stem from his mixed heritage. That mixed heritage is also reflected in the film soundtracks, which mix hip hop and electronic music. Usually this means a mix 50/50 or 60/40 one or the other. Occasionally, though, the soundtracks really try to fuse hip hop and electronic.

For the most extreme example of this, the entirety of the Blade II soundtrack consisted of collaborations between rappers and dance producers (The Roots and BT, Paul Oakenfold and Ice Cube, Redman and Gorillaz, etc.) While some of the collaborations sounded really fun (see previous sentence) others probably sounded good on paper and came out half-hearted (Moby and Mystikal). It was kind of like Judgment Night, and it fared just as well among music critics.

Of course, nowadays this sort of cross-pollination is commonplace, from the electro-pop that is hot in top-40 radio to the plethora of semi-official dance mixes one can find on the internet, and we’re the better for it. Back in 2001, I never thought I’d hear Will.I.Am making techno records, but I like it! Genre mixing has lost its novelty, but a good track is a good track, which brings us to today’s post.

Anyways, the song I’m posting comes from the first movie. It’s Kurtis Mantronik remixing EPMD and turning out a hip-house cut that’s as cool as ice and slick as Blade’s coat. I also love this song because it was one of the first to appear in the Dance Dance Revolution series, and y’all know I can’t get enough DDR. Amid a sea of cute J-pop and Eurodance fun stood “Strictly Business,” like Blade in a club full of vampires.


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