Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Madcon 'Beggin'

Chart Peak: 5


Norwegian hip-hop/rap duo Madcon, short for Mad Conspiracy, are Tshawe Baqwa (AKA Kapricon) and Yosef Wolde-Mariam (AKA Critical)... their first single 'Beggin', originally recorded by the Four Seasons in 1967, gave them a No. 5 hit in the UK chart in September 2008.

A more obvious Sixties borrowing here, and in this case indeed Bob Gaudio and his original co-writer Peggy Farina get all the writing credits, with Madcon seemingly not getting a penny for the lyrics they added themselves. Whilst it's certainly a Four Seasons song, it was Timebox who had the original UK hit. The Four Seasons version slipped into the Top 40 thanks to a "Re-edit" in 2007 and its unusual video, and perhaps it was club success of this that prompted the Madcon version; at least I'm presuming the reworked version had been doing the rounds in clubs for some time before it got a commercial release.

Although it took me some time to realise this, due to an ingrained dislike of the Four Seasons caused by associations with their screechy early hits, the song is actually a pretty good one. It's perhaps a prototype for Northern Soul, notable for the complete absence of falsetto. Madcon's version is a solid reproduction in a slightly more modern production style, with some new rapped verses which don't add much but don't detract a lot either. I tend to suspect that the Europe-wide success of this version had more to do with the song itself being new to people than with anything about this particular rendition. Madcon haven't really had any other British success to speak of, making them the first of several (UK) one-hit wonders on Now 71, but in their homeland they're one of the biggest acts ever. Their latest album features guest appearances from Kelly Rowland, Snoop Lion and Estelle, and they appeared as the interval act at Eurovision in 2010. I can well imagine that if you'd never heard the song before this would sound brilliant, but I think I'd stick with the Timebox version myself.

Available on: So Dark The Con Of Man [Explicit]

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