this weekend's essay: would you like a sample?
some may disagree, but i firmly believe that there is truly an art to sampling. i'm not talking about pulling a p. diddy and just swiping the instrumental of an 80's song and just rapping over it. i'm talking about finding the perfect bar, and looping it just right. (i mentioned how integral i thought sampling was to the (perfect) hip hop song on saf's blog a while back.) anyway, if you've ever been to a hip hop concert--at least one in the city of wind--you know that while waiting for the act to come on, you listen to whatever dj they've hired. no matter who it is, he or she will prolly do the same thing: 1) go through that new shit that's supposed to be hot; 2) hit you with that classic shit only to switch songs right at the good part; 3) hit you with some hidden gems from the golden age, which only a few of you will know the words to; 4) hit you with some songs/artists frequently sampled by hip hop artists (like the isley bros., barry white, roy ayers, james brown), mixed with those 'family reunion' joints (like franky beverly and maze, luther vandross); and 5) after working the crowd into a frenzy with the old skool, force you to pledge allegiance to purple royalty or the king of pop with a prince v. michael jackson competition. mj, of course, should always win. the inspiration for this weekend's essay is point #4.
that said, i presume that most of my readers fuck with hip hop on some level, and are relatively learned when it comes to this genre of music. what i mean by that is, i don't think you all assume that these producers create all those classic melodies we've grown to love. i assume, for example, that we all understand that the most beautiful hip hop song ever, 'electric relaxation' by the tribe, is only so beautiful because of the union of a hip hop beat with ronnie foster's awesome instrumental.**
which brings me to the essay question(s): what are your favorite hip hop samples? and/or is there (part of) a song you think would make a great hip hop sample if used "correctly"? don't forget to list the artist, song, and song/artist they sampled in your response(s).
here are a few of my faves:
artist: nice & smooth
song: sometimes i rhyme slow
sample: tracy chapman, fast car
summer m. says: though "hip hop junkies" also contains a great sample (david cassidy's i think i love you), i like this song better. nice & smooth's rather simple rhymes over chapman's acoustic guitar make it an all time fave of mine.
song: hard knock life
sample: from the musical annie, it's the hard-knock life
summer m. says: when i first heard this song i thought, 'why hasn't this been done before?' if there is any musical that speaks to hip hop, it's annie. rags to riches? (no hoes to bitches?) that's right up hip hop's alley.
artist: lord tariq and peter gunz
song: deja vu (uptown baby)
sample: steely dan, black cow
summer m. says: it's pretty crazy to me that i don't know more people who fuck with steely dan. when i say steely dan, nigs be like, 'steely who?' which is odd because steely dan, well, they're, like, the shit. and their lyrics are crazy!!! not like shuggie otis crazy, but pretty damn close.
artist: bubba sparxxx
song: jimmy mathis
sample: area code 615, stone fox chase
summer m. says: this is my sleeper. i don't know if i said this before, but i really like bubba sparxxx, and not just because he hooked up with timbaland and my girl, missy. admittedly, i had to download 'stone fox chase' because i'd never heard it before. i must say, the harmonica hooked up with a timbaland beat excites me. with the exception of that whole nelly/tim mcgraw incident, i think the idea of hip hop being wedded with country music is a pretty good one. sparxxx's second album (deliverance) shows the potential of such a union.
anyway, feel free to state your all-time fave hip hop samples. or, if you like, list a song you think would be hot if somebody decided to make it "hip hop".
have a great weekend.
**if you didn't know before and are interested, atcq sampled foster's, "mystic brew" for "e.r." you can check it out on blue break beats vol. 3. the string arrangement is immediately recognizable.
also, this is just a kind and gentle reminder that you can vote as often as you like for your favorite black weblogs. and, no, you don't have to be black to vote; you just gotta be black to be nominated. kinda like running for the u.s. presidency. only in reverse.
language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison