The group’s performance of Timbaland’s “Say My Name” remix at Coachella 2018 inspired an editorial trip down memory lane.
A year after Destiny’s Child recorded their versions of holiday classics on 8 Days of Christmas, the trio decided to let veteran producers, songwriters and rappers reimagine their most recognizable hits on This Is The Remix. Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle’s 2002 release morphed melodies that spanned three years worth of material—their self-titled debut album Destiny’s Child (1998) served as the springboard, cues from the 1999 classic The Writing’s on the Wall added that bounce, and reconstructed tunes from the platinum-selling Survivor (2001) solidified DC’s innovation.
To fulfill the Grammy-winning group’s vision, trendsetters from the early aughts laid their flare over melodies that followed the textbook rules of R&B to others that unlocked the formula to a No. 1 pop hit. Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, Eric Seats and Rapture Stewart, E-Poppi and Rockwilder were just a few of the names listed in the credits alongside Wyclef Jean, Anthony Dent, Maurice Joshua, The Neptunes and Timbaland.
Listeners not only indulged in new offerings from the ladies, but they encountered a crash course on what “remix” actually means. What started as a cover of The Bee Gees’ “Emotion” on DC’s Survivor album effortlessly turned into a quickened two-step, thanks to The Neptunes’ fusion of a hi-hat, maracas and a finger-exercise of a bass line. For “Say My Name,” which the group performed during Beyonce’s thrilling Coachella 2018 performance (Apr. 14), the original melody switched to a turn-your-lights-down-low vibe spearheaded by Timbaland. Their soothing vocals were also accompanied by the late singer/songwriter Static Major.
The Latin-essence on the latter part of “Bug-A-Boo,” plus the “fat beat” that Wyclef Jean dropped on “No, No, No Part 2” not only reshaped the instrumentals, but also the way Beyonce delivered her verse like a rapper. She would later experiment with a similar double-time method on songs like “Flawless (Remix),” “7/11” and “Top Off.” In a Genius interview, Wyclef said this flow “probably was strange to the label in the beginning because this didn’t exist yet.”
From that point, the pop hits continued to transform into R&B grooves. The quick-time feel of “Bootylicious” with producer Missy Elliott now required the most controlled body roll to end all body rolls, while “Nasty Girl”s original blaring sound seemed as if the Azza Nu Soul Mix reversed its drum pattern. Near the end of the album, before Lil Bow Wow and Da Brat added “more bounce to the ounce” on “Jumpin’ Jumpin,’” Maurice Joshua took D.C. fans to dance clubs and kept the “dancery” going with “Bills, Bills, Bills.” Producers also looked to Destiny’s Child’s music outside of their albums. “Dot” from Charlie’s Angels’ soundtrack also got the remix treatment. If you don’t mind stretching along with this theory, the “dot” repetition could be seen as an inspiration for Beyonce’s “Love On Top” intro.
The This Is The Remix album went on to join a laundry list of remixed songs and sequels from that year like pre-two I’s Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” remix by Richcraft, Diddy’s “I Need A Girl Part 2” bop and Soulchild’s rendition of Brandy’s hit, “Full Moon.”
Ending with a musical testimony from Michelle (“Heard a Word”), the group opted to seal the track list with an original number, (it was also Michelle’s first solo single before she dropped her debut project, Heart to Yours that same year). The trio’s first solo projects were more than successful, but there’s nothing like seeing them back on stage together performing the hits—both original and remixed.
“This is not a test; this is the remix.”