This Polish Composer Performed the History of Hip Hop With a Full Orchestra

National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR), Katowice, Poland | © View Pictures/REX/Shutterstock
National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR), Katowice, Poland | © View Pictures/REX/Shutterstock
Photo of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor22 May 2017

Jimek, aka Radzimir Dębski, is far from your average composer.

Dębski first gained international attention when he won a remix contest for Beyoncé’s track “End of Time,” proving his skills in production and earning a spot on Queen B’s 4: The Remix. You’re more likely to find him wild-haired, wearing joggers and a loose tee, than in a tuxedo, and even when the occasion calls for fancier dress—you can bet he’ll still be rocking some high tops. And in his compositions, Jimek manages to engage the whole orchestra in unprecedented moments of polyrhythmic percussion.

Further eschewing the conventional measures of the classical world, Jimek’s greatest crossover achievement is most likely the hip-hop history medley he performed during an encore at the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall. Winding through 29 songs in approximately eight minutes, Jimek opens with Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank),” before tapping greats like 2Pac, Jay Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, M.O.P., Beyoncé, and Nicki Minaj, finally concluding the run with Baauer’s viral hit “Harlem Shake.”

Leaving a comment on his own YouTube video, Jimek assures fans that he understands that his medley doesn’t cover the full scope of hip-hop history.

“Never thought something I did for the love of the music that brought me up would get to this big,” he says. “Thank you everyone that helped spread the word!! I know I didn’t do ALL of the history of Hip-Hop, or everybody’s complete lists, I did miss many greats—but these I wrote down by heart, no research, just beats that changed the game for me. (And YES—of course I did Harlem Shake just because it was f***king impossible to orchestrate!!) Let me know what tracks would you add?? would love to do that someday.”

Watch the astounding composition, and check out its full tracklist, below.

1. Kendrick Lamar — “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
2. M.I.A. — “Bad Girls”
3. Wiz Khalifa — “Black and Yellow”
4. 2Pac — “Dear Mama”
5. Cam’Ron — “Hey Ma” ft. Juelz Santana
5. Barry White — “Basketball Jones” ft. Chris Rock
6. Jay Z — “Girls, Girls, Girls”
7. A Tribe Called Quest — “Electric Relaxation”
8. Wu-Tang Clan — “C.R.E.A.M.”
9. Mobb Deep — “Give Up The Goods (Just Step)”
10. Kanye West — “Flashing Lights”
11. 50 Cent — “In Da Club”
12. 50 Cent — “Outta Control” ft. Mobb Deep
13. Jay Z — “Lost One”
14. Jay Z — “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)”
15. Beastie Boys — “Sure Shot”
16. Nas — “Nas is Like”
17. Dr. Dre — “Still D.R.E.” ft. Snoop Dogg
18. Xzibit — “Alcoholic”
19. Missy Elliott — “Get Ur Freak On”
20. Dr. Dre — “What’s the Difference” ft. Eminem & Xzibit
21. M.O.P. — “Cold As Ice”
22. M.O.P. — “Ante Up”
23. Pharoahe Monch — “Simon Says”
24. Beyoncé — “Crazy In Love” ft. Jay Z
25. Snoop Dogg — “Drop It Like It’s Hot” ft. Pharrell Williams
26. Sisqo — “Thong Song”
27. Nicki Minaj — “Anaconda”
28. Wu-Tang Clan — “Gravel Pit”
29. Baauer — “Harlem Shake”

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