The mid-to-late ’90s were a pretty weird time for music. Hip-hop, alternative rock, and dance music all found themselves suddenly, unexpectedly elevated from underground styles to the top of the pop charts, and it inspired a lot of musicians working in one of those styles to reach out to artists in the others. While today we take this sort of cross-genre collaboration for granted, at the time it was a fairly new concept. And as with most new concepts, there was a period where everyone was trying to figure out exactly what to do with it, resulting in a lot of awkward moments captured on tape.
One of the more enthusiastic proponents of breaking down established genre barriers was Sean Combs, a fact that gets far less press than his sampling habits and relationship with Biggie. At the peak of his career he had some big ideas about uniting rap and rock. He turned those ideas into ambitious, if not exactly classic, songs like the “Kashmir”-sampling “Come With Me” and a rock remix to “It’s All About the Benjamins” featuring Dave Grohl, Rob Zombie, Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, and the group Fuzzbubble that Combs unsuccessfully tried to make a thing. (He remains committed to genre-crossing to this day.)
Around the same time, he crossed paths with the Smashing Pumpkins, who were also at the height of their influence, resulting in Combs remixing the song “Ava Adore.” The album it came from, 1998’s Adore, is set to be reissued in a deluxe six-disc edition that will include three entire discs of unreleased material, including the Puff Daddy remix, which was given the alternate title “Chalices, Palaces, and Deep Pools.” Combs swapped out the original version’s electro-rock instrumentation for a chilled-out trip-hop beat and melodramatic strings, unintentionally beating Lana Del Rey to the punch by almost a decade and a half. You can hear the remix at Rolling Stone.