The Melker Project: ‘Ballin’ Oates’ Track-by-Track Mixtape Review

Like deep-fried Oreos and leather pants, there are some things in this world I didn’t even realize I needed until I had them. A hip-hop remix of Hall & Oates is one of those things. Last year, Scott Melker of The Melker Project blessed the internet with Ballin’ Oates, a SoundCloud mixtape that features artists like the Wu-Tang Clan, T.I., and Kanye West alongside the 70s pop rockers. The excitement still hasn’t worn off.

The EP opens with “Wu-Tang’s Maneater,” featuring Hall & Oates and the Wu-Tang Clan. When the sultry saxophone of “Maneater” eases in, you have just 21 seconds to wonder how Daryl and John would sound with a little bit of Wu. “C.R.E.A.M.” pounds into the track with a surge of dark intensity. Like all Melker mashups, there seems to be serious thought behind the juxtaposition. While Hall & Oates almost sound vulnerable as they describe the woman in to “watch out” for in “Maneater,” Raekwon seems to bite back at her beastly ways. With verse that forces you to see how tough he is and how far he’s come, he is clearly not going to let this chick chew him up or rip his world apart.

The second track, “What You Know? You’re Out of Touch!” featuring Hall & Oates and T.I., is super catchy and much less about contrast. Underneath the falsetto, 70s diss, “You’re out of touch, I’m out of time,” T.I tears it up in perfect sync with lines like “Just keep it very cool, or we will bury you.” The songs could not have merged together more beautifully. Asking “What you know about that?” to someone who is out of touch is a seriously flawless combination of ideas.

Featuring Hall & Oates, Twista, and Kanye West,“Twista’s Kiss Is On My List” seamlessly brings “Overnight Celebrity” to the 1981 jam, “Kiss On My List.” It’s exciting right from the start, with the classic synth intro setting a vibrant backdrop for Twista’s shoutouts and introductions. This mix is, once again, surprisingly thought-provoking, and gives you an interesting look at how the times have changed. While Hall & Oates pursue their love interest with nothing more than a kiss, Twista and Kanye are ready to make her a celebrity overnight and get her “Jimmy Choo and Marc Jacobs bags.” Man, we must be getting harder to please.

Rich Girl Meets Rich Boy” featuring Hall & Oates and Rich Boy is, I swear, the best mashup I have ever heard. H&O’s “Rich Girl” is one of my all time favorite songs, and at first, I was 100% opposed to hearing a different version of it. But this track is absolutely addictive. The song begins just as it always has, with the addition of a clicking beat that gradually dices it up for a perfect build. When they sing “Say money, but it won’t get you too far,” the words “NEW MONEY” hit you right before the massive drop. From there on out, it’s solid gold.

Melker Can’t Go For That” featuring Hall & Oates wraps it all up with a little bit of everything. The smooth, jazzy melody provides the perfect space for Melker to break it up and show off a bit. But he keeps it clean, and doesn’t try to work too many ideas into it. Save the sick beats and some offbeat “Hey!”s sunken into the chorus, this track is a true tribute, and closes out one of the best mixtapes I’ve ever stumbled upon.