El Michels Affair’s collection of instrumental covers of fifteen Clan classics, Enter The 37th Chamber, has been helping Wu-Tang fans realize their dreams. The soulful instrumentals providefans with the chance to spit their own verses to their favorite beats, in the privacy of our own homes of course. The latest candidate for a vocal makeover, “Duel Of The Iron Mics,” is from GZA’s 1995 solo release Liquid Swords and features fellow Wu-Tang members Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck. El Michels captures this RZA beat to a “T,” complete with the droning bass line, menacing piano melody and string arrangements, and even quotations from the cult samurai film Shogun Assassin.
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El Michels Affair, at the core of the retro-soul and funk movement, is led by saxophonist/organist Leon Michels and producer/engineer Jeff Silverman. The group began as a series of informal collaborative sessions with musicians from top-selling acts Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, The Budos Band, and Antibalas. In 2005, the group released their debut effort, Sounding Out The City on Truth & Soul, a label co-founded by Silverman and Michels. Since the album’s ’05 release, the El Michels sound has been prominent on successful collaborations with Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Just Blaze, Adele, and Iggy Pop. Furthermore, in 2007, a horn part written and performed by Leon Michels was lifted and used for Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys,” the lead single from the American Gangster album. Most famously, however, is El Michels 2007 tour with Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, which led to the recording of two widely successful 7″ instrumental singles for “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Bring Da Ruckus.” Since then, El Michels Affair has diligently been in the studio, interpreting fifteen of some of the most legendary and well-know Wu-Tang Clan songs, including “Can It All Be So Simple,” “Protect Ya Neck,” “Cherchez La Ghost,” and “Incarcerated Scarfaces” for their upcoming sophomore album, Enter the 37th Chamber, due in stores on April 21st via Fat Beats Records.
El Michels Affair Career Highlights:
â€¢ Horn line written and performed by Leon Michels (for Menahan Street Band) lifted by Jay-Z for “Roc Boys,” the lead single from his Grammy-award winning, platinum album, American Gangster.
â€¢ Produced track “Right As Rain” from singer Adele’s Grammy-award winning, debut album, 19.
â€¢ Produced officially commissioned remix of Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is a Losing Game” from Grammy-award winning, multi-platinum album, Back In Black.
â€¢ Worked with super-producer Just Blaze on song included on forthcoming Saigon album, The Greatest Story Never Told.
Like what you hear? Keep up with El Michels Affair and other artists like Freddie Foxxx, Ill Bill, and eLZhi on the Fat Beats Blog where you can learn about upcoming performances, releases, and in-store appearances.
Also, check out this video on the history of Fat Beats Records, bringing you fresh, independent hip hop since 1994.
“Duel Of The Iron Mics”