Last week, MTV News’ James Montgomery waxed rhapsodic about “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell,” the viral hit by Das Racist that was remixed by Oakland group Wallpaper. This week, Wallpaper struck again with a remix of Jay-Z’s “D.O.A.” that mashes up that tune with Jigga’s “99 Problems” and tosses in a bunch of Auto-Tune for good measure. The result is a manic, raucous track that culminates in the refrain “I got 99 problems but my pitch ain’t one,” and it has become an instant favorite here at MTV News.
“My remixes tend to be divisive,” explains Wallpaper’s Eric Frederic, the man responsible for both remixes. “But I’ve always thought the best way to win a war is to divide and conquer.” He wants to make it clear that while he defends Auto-Tune, he’s also a big fan of Jay-Z and the original message of “D.O.A.” “I agree with Jay-Z in that I think that too many rappers use Auto-Tune.”
Frederic, an Oakland native, first fell in love with Auto-Tune when he heard Cher’s “Believe.” “It reminded me of Zapp and the crazy ’70s funk stuff that used a lot of Vocoder. I decided to start using it because it was a way to blow pop music out of proportion and turn it into satire, which is what Wallpaper is all about.” He still believes in the technology but has become frustrated with the backlash, “mostly because it’s the album we have coming out in September.”
The group — rounded out by drummer Arjun Singh — hasn’t received any feedback from Jay-Z about hijacking his song. “I keep waiting for the cease and desist order to come down, but it seems like Jay-Z has a good sense of humor about stuff,” Frederic says. “I hope he realizes that it’s not meant to be a dis. I just took the opportunity to complicate the issue. But we are in Brooklyn right now, so I suppose some goons could get to us.”
Wallpaper’s album, called Doodoo Face, drops in September (“It’s named after the face you make when something is too funky”), but as for his remixing duties, Frederic isn’t sure what’s next. “I’d love to produce for a big name R&B or rap artist. I love remixing because it’s an easy way to make a complex statement. If you notice in the Jay-Z track, I’m really just re-arranging stuff, but it makes it an entirely new idea.”