Sample Snitch-The Look of Love by Isaac Hayes: connecting Jay-z & Irv Gotti to Burt Bacharach
Isaac Hayes is a goldmine if you get over how weird the situation is. This is the guy who wrote nearly all the important Stax records radio hits but nearly all of his important solo tracks are folk or pop songs we consider corny, given the Hayes treatment. The Hayes treatment means it was originally four minutes long and now its eleven minutes long with minutes upon minutes of Pet Sounds layered funk, shifting tempos and lyrics that just creep in and out of it. The Look of Love was originally written by Burt Bacharach while watching Ursula Andress in the 1967 Bond spoof Casino Royale. He gave the song to Dusty Springfield who nailed a breathy version that got her an Oscar nomination. This song became very important for R&B. The Delfonics did it on their 1968 album La La Means I Love You and The Four Tops did it a year later. Hayes took it on a year after that (1970).
From the first second to about one minute and forty eight seconds of the Hayes version…that’s the guts of Can I Live, possibly Jay’s lyrical high point on Reasonable Doubt (a fun thing to argue about). This is perfect for sampling. It’s no coincidence that Hayes, James Brown, P-Funk, and the Isley Brothers were most sampled in early rap. You could make the case that these were groups everyone listened to growing up and you’d be partially right. The other part is that all these acts worked on extending the song (wordlessly). James Brown had long stretches where he was just letting the band go off while he didn’t say anything. Those seconds are prime cut and paste moments for beat creation.
Obviously this isn’t anything Hayes had in mind. He was trying to prove that the song is bigger than itself. You can think that The Look of Love is cheesy because the words prove it but a song is so much more than the words. By the seventh minute you are so deep in guitar solo you don’t care if the song ends. It’s a city of musical elements with the groove carrying the torch through the center. Isaac Hayes made Dionne Warwick songs into Operas and Burt Bacharach songs so alive that they birthed Jay the way we know him; because he wouldn’t be who he is now without that sample. If you think I’m editorializing find the Reasonable Doubt documentary and listen to Irv Gotti tell the story of him playing Jay the sample for the first time. He had the look of love alright.
Check out the Hayes Look of Love
Now listen to the Jay-z version