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Listen: 'Ballin' Oates' pits Hall & Oates against T.I., Kanye, more

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We're a touch late to the game on this, but recently, both Hall & Oates and "Ballin' Oates" have been popping up on shuffle with a mysterious frequency, so much so that it deserves mention.

Hall & Oates? Dismiss them at your peril: The team long ago proved that its string of durable soul and rock hits in the 1970s and '80s could stand the test of time. How can you argue, after all, with "Maneater" or "Family Man"? Oft-critically maligned during their prime, Hall & Oates endure because the songs move forward through infectiously graceful grooves and catchy hooks. 

Hence the joy of "Ballin' Oates," a recently issued set of renegade reworkings that pits the duo's hits against classic raps by, among others, Wu-Tang Clan, T.I. and Kanye West.

PHOTOS: Times music staff best of 2013 list

Sure, such mash-ups are less shocking than they were a decade ago, but as realized by the series' producer, the Melker Project's Scott Melker, "Ballin' " offers enough choice moments to warrant the set's free download. That's especially true considering that Melker records his own instrumental versions of the Hall & Oates catalog, then samples them, lending an air of musicianly craft to the endeavor.

"What You Know? You're Out of Touch!" features the pop-happy bounce of Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch" melded with T.I.'s joyous anthem "What You Know?" 

On Melker's rendition of "Maneater," he harnesses the song's saxophone melody and Daryl Hall's smooth, pitch-perfect soul voice to augment a cappella verses from Wu-Tang Clan's classic New York jam "C.R.E.A.M." And the straight-up remix of "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" offers proof that at its best, the Melker Project doesn't need to borrow classic a cappella to deliver a surprise.

ALSO:

Best albums of 2013 | Randall Roberts

Phil Everly, voice of desperate teenage love

It's the music that moves 'Inside Llewyn Davis' 

Twitter: @liledit

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