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Hit 'Em Up Style

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Carolina Chocolate Drops: Eternal Scorn

Carolina Chocolate Drops: Eternal Scorn

Hit 'Em Up Style

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The modern string band takes Blu Cantrell's 2001 smash "Hit 'Em Up Style" back to the 1920s. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

The modern string band takes Blu Cantrell's 2001 smash "Hit 'Em Up Style" back to the 1920s.

courtesy of the artist

Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Hit 'Em Up Style"
  • Artist: Carolina Chocolate Drops
  • CD: Genuine Negro Jig
  • Genre: Soul

Carolina Chocolate Drops' members give new meaning to the slogan "Dirty South" in their ingenious makeover of Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style," a hip-hop-infused 2001 R&B hit that epitomized the Dirty South sound. Instead of modernizing the song, though, they age it, transporting it sometime into the 1920s, when string-band music ruled.

The group strips away the sonic heft of the original, as Rhiannon Giddens' quivering soprano keeps the hip-hop lingo intact. As she rejoices in wreaking financial havoc on a cheating lover, her fiddling meshes nicely with Dom Flemons' incisive banjo strumming. Meanwhile, Justin Robinson's shadowy beatboxing and Sule Greg Wilson's shimmering tambourine rhythm keep the song in motion. Bucolic and anachronistic, "Hit 'Em Up Style" proves the enduring vitality of both string-band music and the fury of scorned lovers.

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