Friday Request Line: Juelz Santana’s “Mixin’ Up the Medicine”
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 5, 2010
As you may or may not have noticed, we here at IITS have no problem with writing a lot–too much, no doubt, say the haters–about any number of topics, when properly driven. The drive, however, is occasionally a difficult thing to come by, mostly due to a general paucity of ideas–one can only write about Lady Antebellum and the Memphis Grizzlies so many times before the impact dulls somewhat. This is where you, the reader, having taken and taken from IITS over the years, can now finally do your part to give back a little. Every Friday here at IITS, we will be emptying out the mailbag in the form of the Request Line column. So if there’s ever a song on the radio, a new commercial, an upcoming playoff series, whatever, which strikes you as a subject you would be interested in hearing the IITS take on, leave a note in a recent article’s comments or tweet us at twitter.com/intensities, and the upcoming Friday, we’ll issue a short analysis. And if not, just more Old Spice articles. Sound good? Right then.
So, for our maiden voyage, a note from reader Andy Hutchins, left in a recent Black Eyed Peas article:
“I post [Juelz Santana’s “Mixing Up the Medicine”] for two reasons:
1) I’d like to hear your opinion on the song.
2) I need to share “Still makin’ money off the white girl — Fergie” with you.”
Well, first off–can I point out that it’s been way, way too long since we’ve heard from Mr. Santana? Aside from showing up on Jim Jones’s somewhat underrated “Pop Champagne,” I can’t remember hearing anything of his since “There It Go – The Whistle Song” and “Oh Yes” back in 2006. I’d grown accustomed to that smiling face in the mid-00s, and no other rapper has quite been able to approximate his lovable loopiness since. Lil’ Wayne comes close, I suppose, and that’s probably why they’ve had a collaboration album in the works for years now, but not even he could ever come up with lyrics of the brilliantly inane caliber of “Mic Check” (and the surprising existence of “Don’t Watch Me, Watch TV” t-shirts tell me that I’m not alone in thinking this, either). Dipset’s moment in the sun may have come and gone, but I certainly still had room for Santana in my life, and hoped that he had at least one or two moments of brilliance left in him.
I didn’t even realize this song was him the first time I heard it, likely because I was far too transfixed by the OMGBOBDYLANSAMPLE to really notice much else about the song. The choice of sample (well, interpolation I guess, I’m not sure if anything besides maybe the background guitar lick is actually taken directly from “Subterranean Homesick Blues”) is certainly a strange one, and it sounds a little esoteric for a comeback hit to me, but I respect the thought, at the least. I wish they had done a little more with it, if anything–using Dylan’s actual voice probably would have gone a long way, especially if Santana had made more of an effort to talk to the sample, “Oh Boy” style. There are some definite classic Juelz moments to be had in the lyrics, though–the Fergie ref is nice (and I’m glad to see that Ms. Ferguson has replaced Christina Aguilera as the go-to White Girl in hip-hop parlance) and rhyming her with “James Worthy” is even better, while lines like “The game’s full of sugar and I came with the insulin” and “Swagger on a hundred thousand trillion / Whatever he said, time that by gazillion” have that trademark Santana cadence and logic that I’ve missed so much over the years.
Ultimately, I’d rank it above “Back to the Crib,” but below “Beamer, Benz or Bentley.” That is, of course, unless Juelz plays the trump card of tossing off cards featuring isolated lyrics to “Medicine” in the song’s eventual music video.