The Original: "Lean Back," by Terror Squad
The Remix: "Lean Back," by Terror Squad, featuring Lil Jon, Eminem and Mase
The Outcome: The original "Lean Back" was a smash hit for Fat Joe and the Terror Squad. But the remix—with unexpected guest verses from Eminem and the rapper-turned-pastor-turned rapper again Mase—had us leaning back just as much.
The Original: "Throw It In The Bag," by Fabolous, featuring The-Dream
The Remix: "Throw It In The Bag (Remix)," by Fabolous, featuring Drake
The Outcome: Most of today's remixes aren't truly remixes by definition—they're recreations of songs with beats are usually same and the only real difference is a guest verse or two that wasn't on the original song. Not so on the remix to "Throw It In The Bag." Rather than The-Dream's hook, this remix featured a sample of The-Dream's hit, "Fancy," and a fresh verse from hip-hop's next big thing Drake. Throw that in the bag.
The Original: "Anything," by SWV
The Remix: "Anything (Old Skool Remix)," by SWV, featuring Wu-Tang Clan
The Outcome: Ol' Dirty Bastard on an R&B song? Cool. Method Man? Okay. But U-God?! Yeah, that's just crazy. But surprisingly, it made for one hell of a rap/R&B remix.
The Original: "Diamonds From Sierra Leone," by Kanye West
The Remix: "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)," by Kanye West, featuring Jay-Z
The Outcome: Long before 'Ye and Jay teamed up for the Watch the Throne EP they're reportedly putting together, they came together on this remix. Kanye rapped about the rocks on his pendant, Jay-Z rapped about the Roc and the infamous "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man" lyric was born. In other words, the remix to "Diamonds" was pure gold.
The Original: "Throw Some D's," by Rich Boy
The Remix: "Throw Some D's (Remix)," by Rich Boy, featuring Lil' Jon, Andre 3000, Jim Jones, Nelly, Murphy Lee and Game
The Outcome: We'll give you a hint why you liked this one so much: It wasn't because of Rich Boy, Lil' Jon, Jim Jones, Nelly, Murphy Lee or Game. Got it? Good.
The Original: "I Get Lonely," by Janet Jackson
The Remix: "I Get Lonely (Remix)," by Janet Jackson, featuring Blackstreet
The Outcome: Ah, the glory days of Blackstreet. As if Janet Jackson's original song didn't do well enough on its own (it peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts), Blackstreet came through and blessed Janet to help give a second life to the third single from her 1997 album, Velvet Rope.
The Original: "Walk It Out," by Unk
The Remix: "Walk It Out (Remix)," by Unk, featuring OutKast and Jim Jones
The Outcome: If you need to know why we liked this particular remix, go back and see why we liked No. 39 so much. (Hint: If you already forgot the reason we loved remix No. 39, does the name "3 Stacks" mean anything to you?)
The Original: "At Your Best (You Are Love)," by Aaliyah
The Remix: "At Your Best (You Are Love)," by Aaliyah (remixed by R. Kelly)
The Outcome: The original Aaliyah "At Your Best (You Are Love)" track was a remake of The Isley Brothers' song of the same name (and the song sampled on Drake's "Unforgettable"). But shortly after it appeared on Baby Girl's Age Ain't Nothing But A Number, it also popped up as a remix done by R. Kelly that helped it jump to the top of the charts.
The Original: "Tonight's da Nite," by Redman
The Remix: "Tonight's da Nite (Remix)," by Redman
The Outcome: After successfully releasing the original "Tonight's da Nite" as the third album from his debut, Whut? Thee Album, Red remixed it the following year for his sophomore effort, Dare Iz A Darkside. And the second "Nite" was just as good as the first.
The Original: "Locked Up," by Akon
The Remix: "Locked Up," by Akon, featuring Styles P
The Outcome: Word has it producer Knobody (of Jay-Z's "Can't Knock the Hustle" and Big Pun's "Still Not A Player" fame) knew "Locked Up" was destined to be a breakthrough single for 'Kon. So after recording the original, he brought up the idea of tinkering with the beat slightly and adding an artist like Styles P to the record. Good call, sir.
The Original: "Do Me!," by Bell Biv DeVoe
The Remix: "Do Me!" by Bell Biv DeVoe
The Outcome: The original BBD song here was nothing short a new jack swing classic. So it'd be easy to overlook the slower remix that the guys put out to it. But trust us: Don't do it.
The Original: "Where the Party At?" by Jagged Edge, featuring Nelly
The Remix: "Where the Party At?" by Jagged Edge, featuring Nelly, Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, Bow Wow, R.O.C. and Tigah
The Outcome: The original was a party-starter. The remix was a party in and of itself with the whole So So Def family stopping through to add something to it. Where the party at? Right here.
The Original: "Can It Be All So Simple," by Wu-Tang Clan
The Remix: "Can It Be All So Simple (Remix)," by Raekwon, featuring Ghostface Killah
The Outcome: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. After murdering the RZA's original "Can It Be All So Simple" beat on Wu-Tang's debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Raekwon and Ghostface took the same formula and used it for a remix on Rae's solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... Simple as that.
The Original: "No, No, No Part 1," by Destiny's Child
The Remix: "No, No, No Part 2," by Destiny's Child, featuring Wyclef Jean
The Outcome: When Destiny's Child (remember them?!) released their debut single, it was slow, droning and sort of boring. But the remix to it? Well, with a little help from 'Clef, it was what propelled them into the spotlight and birthed the biggest female R&B singer of a generation. Yes, yes, yes!
The Original: "Made You Look," by Nas
The Remix: "Made You Look (Remix)," by Nas, featuring Jadakiss and Ludacris
The Outcome: "They shoooooootin'!" On the original song, Nas took aim (literally) at sustaining a more lyrical style of rhyming. And Jada and Luda were just as accurate when they hopped on the remix.
The Original: "Get Ur Freak On," by Missy Elliott
The Remix: "Get Ur Freak On (Remix)," by Missy Elliott, featuring Nelly Furtado
The Outcome: The remix to "Get Ur Freak On" wisely kept the same bhangra-influenced production Timbaland used on the original. It just added more of an R&B element to it by including Nelly Furtado and eventually got picked up for use in Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider. Superfreak!
The Original: "Ignition," by R. Kelly
The Remix: "Ignition (Remix)," by R. Kelly
The Outcome: You know you've got a strong remix when you put it out on the same exact album that the original song appears on—directly after the original song. On his 2002 album, Chocolate Factory, Kells placed the "Ignition (Remix)" right after "Ignition." So while the original got the engine started, the remix revved it up.
The Original: "I Got Cha Opin," by Black Moon
The Remix: "I Got Cha Opin (Remix)," by Black Moon
The Outcome: The original joint from Black Moon's classic debut, Enta Da Stage, was hard-edged and the type of boom-bap you'd expect from a New York City group in the early 1990s. The remix featured a slightly more soulful take. But either way, they both had us open.
The Original: "Lady," by D'Angelo
The Remix: "Lady (Remix)," by D'Angelo, featuring AZ
The Outcome: Sigh. What happened to you, D? At the height of your popularity, you were looking like the king of R&B with songs like "Lady." AZ's contribution on the DJ Premier-produced remix just served as icing on the cake on this smooth jam that sounds just as good today as it did 15 years ago (damn, it's been that long already?!).
The Original: "Is That Yo Chick," by Memphis Bleek, featuring Jay-Z and Missy Elliott
The Remix: "Is That Yo Chick," by Memphis Bleek, featuring Jay-Z, Missy Elliott and Twista
The Outcome: It seems like there are about 10 different versions of this song floating around on the 'net right now. At any rate, the original single version wasn't what actually appeared on Bleek's album, so we're calling that the remixed version for the sake of this list. From Twista's suuuper quick delivery to Jay's show-stealing quips, this is vintage Roc material.
The Original: "Ruff Ryders' Anthem," by DMX
The Remix: "Ruff Ryder's Anthem (Remix)," by DMX, featuring Drag-On, Eve, Jadakiss and Styles P
The Outcome: "Stop...DROP...SHUT 'EM DOWN, OPEN UP SHOP!" If Swizz Beatz never produced another record after this one, we wouldn't have been mad. Just like we weren't mad when DJ Clue bogarted the remix for his debut album, The Professional, in 1998. Truthfully, just about anyone would have sounded right over this beat, but the Ruff Ryders proved they were for real when they rode out on this one.
The Original: "Resurrection," by Common
The Remix: "Resurrection (Large Professor Remix)," by Common
The Outcome: You just don't hear remixes like this anymore. Producer Large Professor grabbed the vocals used on the No I.D.-produced intro to Com's second album, Resurrection, and managed to resurrect the entire feel and sound of the track. Resurrection, indeed.
The Original: "I'm Real," by Jennifer Lopez
The Remix: "I'm Real (Murder Remix)," by Jennifer Lopez, featuring Ja Rule
The Outcome: Say what you want about the guy, but Rule took a soft, airy J. Lo song that was going nowhere and flipped it into one of the biggest songs of Lopez's career. N-word controversy aside, this was J. Lo and Ja Rule at their best.
The Original: "Best of Me," by Mya, featuring Jadakiss
The Remix: "Best of Me Pt. 2," by Mya, featuring Jay-Z
The Outcome: Has Jay ever gone as hard (II) as he did here on an R&B record? From the fact that he spit two verses on the song to the fact that he and Mya wore matching University of North Carolina jerseys in the video, Mya seemingly brought the best out of Jay on this one.
The Original: "Fiesta," by R. Kelly, featuring Boo & Gotti
The Remix: "Fiesta (Remix)," by R. Kelly, featuring Boo & Gotti and Jay-Z
The Outcome: We promise, we're not about to bombard you with a host of remixes featuring Hov (in fact, this is the last one that appears on the list—so enjoy it!). But this was one of the records that made a Jay-Z/R. Kelly Best of Both Worlds album sound like such a good idea. The key word there, of course, is "sound" but this was a smash hit, for sure. Even with Boo & Gotti on the record!
The Original: "Be Happy," by Mary J. Blige
The Remix: "Be Happy (Bad Boy Remix)," by Mary J. Blige, featuring Keith Murray
The Outcome: We'll excuse everybody who immediately starts waving to the haters at the beginning of this (what up, Maino?) and say this: Keith Murray did his thing on this track. Even though his style is scrappy and nappy—all dude wanted to do was be happy. Niiiiice!
The Original: "Ante Up (Robbin Hoodz Theory)," by M.O.P.
The Remix: "Ante Up (Remix)," by M.O.P., featuring Busta Rhymes, Teflon and Remy Ma
The Outcome: The formula here was simple: Rap and rap hard. M.O.P. did it on the original and their guests did it on the remix, including a young Remy Ma who absolutely stomped all over this beat. You had us scared straight, girl.
The Original: "You Rock My World," by Michael Jackson
The Remix: "You Rock My World (Track Masters Remix)," by Michael Jackson, featuring Jay-Z
The Outcome: Michael Jackson on his own provided a smash (the original track leaked early and got massive amounts of radio play before the record was even released by the label, a rarity back in 2001). But once Hov got on? Fuggedaboutit. He rocked it.
The Original: "Stakes Is High," by De La Soul
The Remix: "Stakes Is High (Remix)," by De La Soul, featuring Mos Def
The Outcome: The stakes got even higher on the remix to the Dilla-produced track from De La's fourth album of the same name. Consistently great hip-hop music. What more can we say?
The Original: "In My Bed," by Dru Hill
The Remix: "In My Bed (So So Def Remix)," by Dru Hill, featuring Da Brat and Jermaine Dupri
The Outcome: After the sappy original ballad skyrocketed to the top of the charts, JD added a beat to Dru Hill's successful single and took Sisqo's stories of infidelity to the club—where they're supposed to be!
The Original: "Freek'n You," by Jodeci
The Remix: "Freek'n You," by Jodeci, featuring Ghostface Killah and Raekwon
The Outcome: On paper, this doesn't work. Ghost and Rae doing...R&B? Except, it did. Rae and Ghost proved they were versatile by hopping on a record with the most sexually-charged R&B group at the time. And they freaked the hell out of it.
The Original: "The World Is Yours," by Nas
The Remix: "The World Is Yours (Pete Rock Remix)," by Nas
The Outcome: The fact that Pete Rock could produce a classic Nas song and then remix it and make another classic is a testament to Nas's lyrics and Pete Rock's ability behind the boards. The world really was theirs when these two songs dropped.
The Original: "Touch It," by Busta Rhymes
The Remix: "Touch It (Remix)," by Busta Rhymes, featuring Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose and DMX
The Outcome: There were so many remixes to this song—we weren't even sure which one to post. It was as if Busta gathered everyone he's ever recorded a remix verse for and asked them to record one for him. Everyone got a touch here.
The Original: "Quiet Storm," by Mobb Deep
The Remix: "Quiet Storm (Remix)," by Mobb Deep, featuring Lil' Kim
The Outcome: "Hot damn, hoe, here we go again!" The remix to "Quiet Storm" single-handedly added five years to Kim's career. She was aggressive, she was mean, she was...the Queen B. Enough said.
The Original: "Real Love," by Mary J. Blige
The Remix: "Real Love (Bad Boy Remix)," by Mary J. Blige, featuring The Notorious B.I.G.
The Outcome: "Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane/Nope it's Mary J, ain't a damn thing changed..." Yep, we've obviously reached the part of the list where guest verses are starting to steal the show. Here, The Notorious B.I.G. made his first appearance on a track by blessing Mary J's successful single from her debut, What's the 411?
The Original: "Buddy," by De La Soul, featuring Q-Tip and the Jungle Brothers
The Remix: "Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)," by De La Soul, featuring Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love and Queen Latifah
The Outcome: Mark this remix down as the first big Native Tongues posse cut. And for that alone, it deserves a spot on this list.
The Original: "Only You," by 112, featuring Notorious B.I.G.
The Remix: "Only You (Bad Boy Remix)," by 112, featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Mase
The Outcome: We hope you're prepared for Puffy to take over this list. On "Only You," he used a catchy tune from R&B quartet 112 to help introduce the world to Mase.
The Original: "Shut 'em Down," by Public Enemy
The Remix: "Shut 'em Down (Pete Rock Remix)," by Public Enemy
The Outcome: The original song was plenty good but it got a big boost from the horns Pete Rock added to the remix, which helped make it a hit in 1992. Seventeen years later, the remix is still so powerful that it was added to the soundtrack of last year's Madden NFL 10. Pete Rock FTW!
The Original: "One More Chance," by The Notorious B.I.G.
The Remix: "One More Chance/Stay With Me (Remix)," by The Notorious B.I.G., featuring Faith Evans
The Outcome: Biggie actually gave "One More Chance" a second chance. The original was actually the song that appeared on his debut album, Ready to Die, but the remix was one of the songs that helped make B.I.G. bigger in the mainstream rap world. Way to take another chance, Big.
The Original: "Fantasy," by Mariah Carey
The Remix: "Fantasy (Remix)," by Mariah Carey, featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard
The Outcome: Before they recorded this, Mariah Carey and ODB were basically oil and water. The sweet, innocent R&B starlet and the gritty hardcore rapper couldn't possibly make beautiful music, could they? Wrong. "Me and Mariah, go back like babies and pacifiers..." was all we needed to be convinced that this pairing was anything but a fantasy.
The Original: "It's All About the Benjamins," by Puff Daddy, featuring The LOX
The Remix: "It's All About the Benjamins (Remix)," by Puff Daddy, featuring Lil Kim and The Notorious B.I.G.
The Outcome: No, no, we're not talking about that awful rock remix Puffy put together to try and capitalize off the success of this song. Actually, before "Benjamins" was "Benjamins," it was a 1996 mixtape track on a DJ Clue tape featuring Puffy, Jadakiss and Sheek Louch (anybody got the 1996 Clue tape, Holiday Holdup?! Holla at us!). But it was later added to Puffy's 1998 debut album, No Way Out, along with new verses from Lil' Kim and Biggie, thus making it a remix—and a damn good remix—of the original.
The Original: "Flava In Ya Ear," by Craig Mack
The Remix: "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)," by Craig Mack, featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes
The Outcome: Does this list make you realize how few of today's rappers are from New York or what? Here, Puffy turned a relatively minor hit by Craig Mack into a Big Apple anthem that peaked at No. 9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with a little help from the new and old guard in NYC. Music to our ears.
The Original: "Scenario," by A Tribe Called Quest
The Remix: "Scenario," by A Tribe Called Quest, featuring Leaders of the New School, Kid Hood and Busta Rhymes
The Outcome: Here's the scenario: Any of the Puffy/Bad Boy remixes listed here could have landed atop this list. But this remix had it all. Classic artists? Tribe. Hungry newcomer? Busta Rhymes. Controversy? Rookie rapper Kid Hood died just days after recording his verse for the song. As a posse cut—and as a remix—"Scenario" deserves a spot at the head of the class.
Did we miss your favorite remix of all-time? Do you think any of the remixes listed here should have been higher or lower than we ranked them? What's your favorite remix of the year? Leave us a comment in the box below and let us know.