FAT25 · BRIXTON: Voodoo Beats · Dre

 
Despite the fact that all the articles about all 10 tracks off of The Fat of the Land album have already been published here, we still have something to tell you on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the LP. Apart from all the album tracks, b-sides and unreleased stuff we also would like to tell you about live tracks – the ones which were played only at gigs around that time and have never been released. Even more, the occasion fits just right – exactly 25 years ago The Prodigy had a legendary gig at Brixton Academy!

As we’ve already reminisced, during the pre-TFOTL period (late 1995, 1996, early 1997) the band would regularly play the following live tracks: Benny Blanco ‘95, Bounce (the alpha version of ‘Serial Thrilla’), Purple Haze and Firedrill – we’ve explicitly covered these tracks in our previous articles.

Shortly after the release of the album – around November 1997 – the band changed their live programme, so a new intro and a couple of fresh live tracks have supplemented the set list. The legendary ‘The Usual Suspects’ Intro was replaced with a short remix of one of Liam’s favorite tracks – Wildstyle by Timezone, and a bit later it evolved into a newer version of ‘Benny Blanco’.

The remix of ‘Voodoo People’ produced by The Chemical Brothers was chosen by Liam as a special track for live gigs. In fact, it was Liam’s remix of Chemical Brothers remix that went under an unpretentious title Voodoo Beats. For many years fans dreamt of a collaboration between The Prodigy & The Chemical Brothers (early known as The Dust Brothers), so ‘Voodoo Beats’ has become one. Well, sort of. To fans’ joy, on the 15th anniversary of the band, this track was refined and released in studio quality on ‘Their Law’ compilation. Even though The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers were only authors of the track, some copyright problems have emerged. The thing was that the original version of ‘Voodoo Beats’ from 1997 featured the phrase “my style’s unorthodox, but of course it rocks” sampled from Let The Words Flow by Chill Rob G, but Liam failed to sort the thing out with the artist.


    Sample: vocals (‘my style’s unorthodox, but of course it rocks’)
    Sample source: Chill Rob G – Let The Words Flow (Acappella) [The Court Is Now In Session / Let The Words Flow, 1989]

Thus, the sample was replaced with a portion of the full vocal version of ‘Wake Up Call’ by Kool Keith.

Liam in interview to Neko (19/10/2005):

 

Neko: So you released the Their Law The Singles album Id quite to talk to you through the selection on disc 2. For example Voodoo Beats, which has been quite a favourite with the fans. What made you bring it back? Have you had it sit around already or was there some reason it got selected?

 

Liam Howlett: To be honest, not all the choices of what records were on that 2nd CD were down to the fans, but that particular one was. I kind of thought, you know, people still like that track, but its not really anything that could have developed into anything else, its a kind of a live show thing, you know what I mean. So I thought this was a good place to put it, on that second CD, its a good bonus track.

I think a lot of people were asking about the samples I changed the samples in it. It used to have a sample in it “my style is unorthodox, but of course it rocks”, do you remember that? Now its the Kool Keith thing, because we couldn’t clear that sample, so were using Kool Keith now.

 

Neko: Is that Kool Keith sample from the Wake Up Call full vocals version?

 

LH: Yeah

The beta version of ‘Voodoo Beats’ with no synth and with the initial Chill Rob G sample was released on the DVD-issue of ‘Their Law’ compilation, as a professional live video from the Brixton Academy gig. Despite the fact that the Brixton Academy video was released officially, the final cut didn’t include some of the tracks that were played that day.

Apart from some album tracks, the video didn’t include the rest of the live tracks such as ‘Benny Blanco’ and ‘Rock’n’Roll’ (we’ll cover the latter in one of our next articles). It’s likely that it was due to lack of rights to use the samples featured in live tracks. In this regard, the original version of ‘Voodoo Beats’ got lucky: the Chill Rob G sample got drowned by Maxim’s shouts, so it’s presence in the track was not obvious. But still it’s not clear why ‘Diesel Power’, ‘Full Throttle’ and ‘Poison’ dropped out of the live video.

Full setlist from Brixton gig
     
  • Benny Blanco (Intro)
  • Smack My Bitch Up
  • Voodoo People
  • Voodoo Beats
  • Their Law
  • Diesel Power
  • Funky Shit
  • Breathe
  • Firedrill
  • Serial Thrilla
  • Poison
  • Climbatize Link
  • Mindfields
  • Rock’n’roll
  • Firestarter
  • Fuel My Fire
  • Full Throttle

 
But not many of you know that there is an alternative version of the Brixton Academy video. It’s longer than the DVD one and was broadcast on MTV in the late 90s. The original cut of the video hasn’t been found but we can assume that it could include some of the tracks that were not included in the DVD version. One particular thing is clear: said TV montage featured a short live track which, apparently, debuted at the Brixton Academy gig. We’re talking about a jam track called Dre Link which was regularly played before ‘Breathe’ from late ’97 up to ’99.

As you can tell, in the very beginning the track was very short and had no lyrics by Maxim. But a month later the track evolved into a proper live tune with some synth lines improvised by Liam and freestyle lyrics by Maxim. Many fans know this track as Prepare For the Rush but in the tracklists it was mentioned as ‘Dre Link’ and no other way.



The thing is that the track is based on A Nigga Witta Gun by Dr. Dre. To be more precise, Dr. Dre’s track inspired Liam and he didn’t sample it directly. Instead, he found the original sample source and took the same portion of it to make a beat to jam with at gigs.


    Sample: bass & drums
    Sample source: Johnny Hammond – Big Sur Suite [Higher Ground, 1974]
    Interpolation source: Dr. Dre – A Nigga Witta Gun [The Chronic, 1992]
    Note: Considering the title ‘Dre Link’, it seems that Liam recreated the loop from Dr. Dre’s track using the original source. In ‘A Nigga Witta Gun’, no clean fragments of this loop can be found.

Maxim, on his part, freestyled not only the ‘Prepare For The Rush’ thing, but also the chorus from ‘The Masterplan’ and even some portions of his future solo tracks. On the web one can find at least a couple of performances of ‘Dre Link’ where Maxim freestyles some lines from his solo track Killing Culture which was released two years later.

Toward the end of the tour, around 1999, Liam combined ‘Dre Link’ with another short filler track, Ride The Rhythm by Chill Rob G.


Our team, just as usual, have approached the matter with responsibility and recreated the jam track ‘Dre Link’.

Full version of the track is available for download on our Patreon and Boosty! Your support will be greatly appreciated.

In our next article we’ll tell you the in-depth story of Rock’n’Roll featuring Gizz Butt on the guitar and share the recording of this legendary track!

Headmasters: SIXSHOT
Additional thanks to: Faust, Split, Canyon Hill, Break-D


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OPEN COMMENTS | 1 thought on • FAT25 · BRIXTON: Voodoo Beats · Dre
  1. CollecThor says:

    Amazing guys, go go go

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