Jacques Brel was considered the master of modern chanson. What does that mean? I didn’t know either so I looked it up on wikipedia. Listening to Brel you’ll immediately notice his music is over-the-top dramatic and sounds pretty ridiculous. Somehow he amassed a pretty large following in France and later worldwide. He died in the late 70′s from complications related to smoking (quit now!) Some how producer Self found the LP and flipped “Vieillir” for Onyx‘s comeback track “Shut Em Down” featuring DMX. Most people don’t recognize Self but his production credit list is pretty extensive including tracks for DMX, Ja-Rule, Cocoa Brovaz, Cam’Ron, and Fat Joe.
In 1998, Onyx returned from a hiatus with their double A-side single “Shut Em Down” / “Raze it Up“. To promote the single, Def Jam released a promo-only double LP “Best of Onyx” which featured the single and an extra 12-inch with some of their classic cuts and the unreleased “Evil Streets Remix” with Method Man. Their album met with decent reviews and also featured a young 50 Cent (thanks to Jam Master Jay). Since “Shut Em Down” was already old when the album dropped, they added a remix featuring N.O.R.E. and Big Pun. Check out the original sample to see how Self flipped it.