For an electropop band from Sweden, Little Dragon has a surprising amount of hip-hop cred. Starting in 2011, when the band guested on SBTRKT’s white-hot single “Wildfire,” which was subsequently remixed by afrofuturist rap duo Shabazz Palaces, they’ve put together quite an impressive resumé of collaborations and remixes. Frontwoman Yukimi Nagano has gone on to guest on tracks by DJ Shadow and Big Boi, rappers like Future and Bishop Nehru have popped up on Little Dragon remixes, and last year, the whole band guested on a De La Soul album.
The band’s latest brush with hip-hop comes courtesy of a new remix of their last single “High.” Produced by onetime Odd Future affiliate Michael Uzowuru and Kevin Abstract collaborator Jeff Kleinman, and featuring the Carol City combo of Denzel Curry and Twelve’len, the remix does its job of making an already-great song even better.
While listening to the original, it’s easy to see why Little Dragon has attracted so many rappers and beatsmiths into their orbit, as slow-rolling G-funk synths and lightly gated snares could have believably been lifted from an early ‘90s Warren G song.
Somewhat paradoxically, Uzowuru and Kleinman bring “High” into spacier, more electronic territory, further away from the boom bap bedrock of hip-hop. Curry, usually known for his motormouthed delivery, slows things down until they’re more methodical and psychedelic, akin to André 3000’s “Chonkyfire” hook. Twelve’len is barely noticeable amid a cloud of reverb, but like all of the best vocal harmonies, blending in is a hallmark of expertise.
On the verge of their fifth album, Little Dragon continues to blur genre boundaries and attract (and inspire) fans of all backgrounds. Season High, which counts “High” as its lead single, will be out on April 14th, and it should be a great addition to their catalog.