Tag Archives: Sample Snitch

Sample Snitch-Drake’s Secret Weapon

Sample Snitch-Drake’s Secret Weapon

by Dan-O

Hypothetical scenario: you step into my sight with a twelve gauge pump action Mossberg shotgun and tell me I have five seconds to name the best Drake song; doesn’t take me three. The answer is Jungle from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. I have heard everything he has done and haven’t heard anything crystalized as beautiful and pure. A lot of it rests in that hook.

I was reading youtube comments that referenced a name on the song I hadn’t heard of. Gabriel Garzon-Montano was credited with the hook and I thought to myself maybe this is some Fania records salsa guy from the 70’s……nope. Born in 1989 signed to Stones Throw Records.  I’ve seen him described as a multi-instrumentalist which is what they describe you as when the music falls in that weird ravine between soul and funk that confuses people. Not only is the hook COMPLETELY his but the chorus is sampled from his song 6 8 which is so much more sonically interesting.

Drake uses the sample as well as you could hope. His emphatic “are we still good, are we still gooood” and “This $h_T is everything” add a lot, he sways along with the song very mad that his love interest is on social media (this is a big theme of the album and latter Drake as he does not trust women he’s with to navigate social media). It is a song full of silly complaints like OH NO SHE SWITCHED MAJORS! The sampled hook and the pure slap that backs it up gives weight to them, keeps them from floating off into the manchild complaint zone a lot of Drake content lives.

Gabriel Garzon-Montano is the real deal. 6 8 starts with a stampede of drums and the lush lilt of his voice nailing the chorus followed by the piano which comes in as he coos. The hook from Jungle is repeated as it morphs and resituates in the foreground as the background evolves. The snippet 40 pulls for Drake is about three minutes and twenty seconds in. It turns out Jungle is 40’s greatest achievement; he found the perfect sample that includes the best sonic accompaniment for it. He just mirrored that and kicked in jungle sound effects at the right time while giving Drake the space to spice it up.  Shout out to Drake’s secret weapon Noah “40” Shebib for keeping his ears to the underground. Shout out to Gabriel-Garzon Montano who I have been listening to non-stop since I found 6 8 and the rest of his catalog.

When you talk about how dominant Drake is know that you are talking about 40 as well. The same way when you talk about Sade you’re not talking about a lady, it’s a band.

Check the Drake version

The Original

 

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Sample Snitch: The exciting G Funk perfection of All Eyez On Me

Sample Snitch: The exciting G Funk perfection of All Eyez On Me

by Dan-O

All Eyez On Me is the best double album in the history of hip hop. That is not a hot take.  If you listen very carefully it is not the dark foreboding cryptic record Makaveli is perceived to be. It is fun and fully engages its female audience in a way we all keep saying “didn’t happen in the 90’s or really before Kanye/Drake”.  On Run Tha Streetz he actually starts a verse by giving women advice on how to keep “a playa” and this was NOT the norm. Even songs that may seem misogynistic are interesting to look at from a perspective analysis. Wonda Why They Call U B___ is maligned but think about the phrasing of it, the song is directed right at his female audience. When Too Short made songs about B’s he was talking to his homies, obviously male listeners, fellow pimps/hustlers that was his constituency. 2pac understood he had a deeper female fanbase than other rappers (possibly because of emotional/personal content in the past or songs with complex/empathetic female characters like in Can U Get Away off Me Against The World) .  He wanted to explain his logic to them so they would understand his perspective and he wanted to explain groupies to them on All About U.

The reason some of the depth gets lost is that this album slaps from front to back. If you look at the samples listing the source songs is the absolute best funk playlist of all time. Rather Be Ya N_ samples I’d Rather Be With You by Bootsy Collins. A song so legendary it has been sampled from 1991(N.W.A.-I’d Rather F*** You) through 2016 (Childish Gambino-Redbone).  The baseline from Never Gonna Stop by Linda Clifford is instantly recognizable not just as the backbone for the title track on this album but the meat of Nas-Street Dreams song off It Was Written. One of my favorite songs from All Eyez On Me was always Check Out Time because of how insane it was that I was listening to a song about my favorite rappers checking out of a hotel.  That sample is Candy Rain by Soul For Real who were a new jack swing act on Uptown Records alongside Heavy D & Guy. You’ll find multiple Roger Troutman and P-Funk samples. Whatz Ya Phone# pulls from a long crazy song by The Time called 777-9311. Darling Nikki is present on Heartz of Men, all of the music sampled moves at a legendary pace. 2pac wanted a party record that could double as his last will and testament.

He takes I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl) by Instant Funk and concocts the deeply meditative posse cut Got My Mind Made Up featuring Daz, Method Man, and Redman. No sleepy jazz samples or minimalism, All Eyez On Me is maximalist funk pulled through the Makaveli paranoid awareness.  When he wants to slow down he pulls the heartbreak right from the melody of Brandy by The O’Jays and infuses it in the chorus and content of Life Goes On. At an hour and ten minutes it is still supernaturally well-paced because the subtle groove of Life Goes On becomes the menacing braggadocio of Ain’t Hard 2 Find.  His words are magnificent but we shouldn’t forget the magic carpet of funk that brings him there.

Remember Curtis Mayfield helped produce this song

 

Slap the taste out of anyone who talks down to Bootsy…do it for hip hop.

Sample Snitch-Chaka Khan, Simply Red, 8ball, & MJG

 

Sample Snitch-Chaka Khan, Simply Red, 8ball, & MJG

by Dan-O

So UGK dropped their first album Too Hard To Swallow in 1992 stacked with old soul samples. The sample listing includes Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, and the Isley Brothers. I’ve already written a previous Sample Snitch about the Isley connection with UGK. A year later in 1993 8ball & MJG drop one of the scariest debut albums in the history of the genre (Comin’ Out Hard) and on the title track they sample Rufus & Chaka Khan’s Stay along with Simply Red’s Holding Back The Years.

The juxtaposition of smash mouth street content over warm lush soul would come to define Southern Rap. This is the creation of riding music made to bump in Cadillac’s not headphones or dancefloors. At the time the “average” hip hop fan was so used to the east coast brusque tough guy shouting street cred that this was all new. The smooth foundation of Simply Red topped with the brilliant sample of Chaka Khan for the chorus was shaken and altered by 8ball saying things like:

” I gotta come out hard as hell just like the life I lead

Cool, feed on the next brotha’s greed

J-Smooth cuttin’ up, lil’ Hank gettin’ buck

Killers be shootin’ up suckas with no guts

I’m scoping big butts, looking for the payoff

Living like a pimpster, taking everyday off

Riding through the hood with my homies gettin’ smoked out

Fall up in the mall, on a ho stroll, loked out

Cool, calm and collective, comin’ out hard”

He was feeding on greed watching killers shoot people while remaining cool, calm and collective…how? It was a different environment and mentality from the one listeners understood.  The imagery portrayed is still genuinely horrifying. On the song Pimps 8ball has a verse where he gives lessons on pimping and one is

“Lesson three

If you don’t tell dat ho who is boss

Bitchs like to run shit

But end up getting smacked in the mouth

See a real nigga believe in beatin them hoes down

Push they head into the wall until you hear dat crackin sound”

His intonation is so serious and sinister in its joy as he says it that the verse never leaves you. It teaches you a horrible truth about the world that we all need to work to change. It speaks the terror hidden from some neighborhoods. That song samples Love T.K.O. by Linda & Cecil Womack( they went by Womack & Womack).  8ball & MJG made gangsta rap just as ugly or brutal as anyone in history but the sugar of soul and funk (Rufus for example had all songs written by the keyboardist, bassist and drummer so they naturally made songs perfect for hip hop sampling.) made it go down differently. While people were having congressional hearings about Dr. Dre & Ice Cube, Old Dirty, Wu-Tang Clan…Southern Rap wasn’t really in the conversation. Maybe it wasn’t big enough sales wise, maybe the samples made it taste less threatening than it was. Either way, Comin’ Out Hard is the core of a method we still find today.

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan Stay off the album Street Player

Simply Red Holding Back The Years off the album Picture Book

Comin’ Out Hard by 8ball & MJG brings it all together

#SampleSnitch-You are Who You Sample: Isley Brothers to UGK

#SampleSnitch-You are who you sample: Isley Brothers to UGK

by Dan-O

If a rapper who produces is selecting the same artist to sample over the course of their career you start to see the connection. The latest example is Kanye West and Nina Simone (http://www.vinylmeplease.com/magazine/kanye-west-sings-blues/ great in depth article on that) the two share that kind of driving-off-a-cliff-but-surviving genius. In the case of UGK it becomes apparent that they made their bones on Isley Brothers samples.

The debut full length studio album from UGK is called Too Hard to Swallow and features three Isley Brothers pulls: Summer Breeze as the co-foundation for Tell Me Something Good, Between The Sheets two years before Biggie used it on Cramping My Style, and I Turned You On for I’m So Bad. UGK were a fearless revelation with songs like Cocaine in the Back of the Ride and Pocket Full of Stones scaling back the horrorcore of early Geto Boys in a way that made them more frightening…cause Pimp didn’t sound like he was writing fiction and Bun didn’t sound like he let his feelings get in the way of anything.

Four years later UGK put out one of hip hop’s flawless treasures in Ridin’ Dirty. Being from Maine I didn’t hear it in 1996, I went into the Army and got stationed at Ft. Hood Texas. That is when I rode in my first Cadillac and when my friend played me One Day for the first time. He hit repeat twice until it soaked our bones. Instead of the ball busting ferocity and relentless aggression One Day is a step back appreciation of the finite nature of our life. Bun B trips through childhood, lost friends, sin, prison all with the assured linguistics and breathe control of a king.  Pimp at about a minute and thirty left in the song does one of his trademark shockingly honest admissions “My man Bobo just lost his baby in a house fire/and when I got on my knees that night to pray/I asked God ‘Why you let these killas live and take my homeboy’s son away?’/ Man if you got kids, show em you love em cause God just might call em home,” It is heart stopping. I used to go to cook outs in Texas (or later in my duty station in Korea) and put this song on just to watch everyone stop & turn their attention to it. You have to.

You have to because of Ronald Isley’s magnificently fragile voice chiming in from the last song on their 1974 album Live It Up. The song is called Ain’t I Been Good to You and the album is important because it is in the sweet spot of The Isley format: dance banger-slow jam-mid-tempo-funk then repeat. The other reason One Day can’t be ignored is because of Ernie and Marvin Isley. Marvin’s bass is just monstrous and Ernie is credited on the album with “percussion, drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar” the rhythm section is all time electric making it damn near impossible not to groove. For those who don’t know Pimp had a big hand (along with the legendary N.O. Joe) with producing all UGK music. He knew that Ronald’s voice would give you pause just like he knew Ernie and Marvin’s groove would keep you nodding your head. UGK created music that wasn’t for the club or the backpack, rider music for car speakers,  for moments like the first time I heard it. They couldn’t have done it without the Isley bump and none of them would have a problem saying that.

The Isley Brothers original:

The UGK version:

Sample Snitch-I Choose You and the Willie Hutch effect on hip hop

Sample Snitch-I Choose You and the Willie Hutch effect on hip hop

by Willie Hutch

The chorus for I Choose You has been lifted by countless rap icons from Project Pat, Wiz Khalifa and most famously UGK on Int’l Playaz Anthem (I Choose You) featuring Outkast. Willie Hutch infused his music with qualities that not only secure his music as timeless but leave a prime candidate for sampling.

As a teenager Hutch was in a doo-wop group called The Ambassadors and that form requires a tightness and discipline in the songwriting as well as the execution. A skill set that would come in handy as he transitioned to writing, producing, and arranging songs for The 5th Dimension. When he signed to RCA he actually wrote the lyrics to I’ll Be There for The Jackson 5. Writing for Motown under producers like Hal Davis demands that precision and he was so good at it Berry Gordy singed him to be staff writer, arranger, producer and musician (played guitar).

This is all to say that by the time Willie put his first solo album (Soul Portrait) out in 1969 he had a rock solid foundation in the structure of melody. The album is a seamless showcase of a perfectionist’s attention to the groove. This is all to say that I Choose You is not accidentally glorious and pimpish. He made the song for the iconic Blaxploitation film The Mack starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor. It had to soar and make Cadillac’s feel like spaceships. He knew he could draw his voice out and kick it up a notch when the horns came in.

It makes total sense that the best Southern Rap collaboration of all time happened over the pillowy pitch-perfect harmony he organized. Every word Pimp C says is dynamic and arresting (even the offensive stuff…especially the offensive stuff) Bun B is ice cold Andre is earnest emotional poetic and Big Boi bubbles.

So think about it this way: Hutch and others like Isaac Hayes cut their teeth in the back room cranking out hits before they were able to grow into their solo voice but by the time they did…they were at an advantage of experience. Keep that in mind when a new inexperienced kid takes over the world after one song; that is the world putting them at a disadvantage. When Hutch experimented, loosened the reigns and got funky he knew how to do it and never suffered the disadvantage of not knowing when it got sloppy. I Choose You is the culmination of a lot of work and when you hear it make that your reference point.

Int’l Playaz Anthem (I Choose You) by UGK and Outkast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awMIbA34MT8

Willie Hutch-I Choose You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_7fEmSLu9g

Sample Snitch-Rick Ross, Scarface, Ice Cube, The Stylistics and Thom Bell—hip hop’s relationship to the song People Make The World Go Round

Sample Snitch-Rick Ross, Scarface, Ice Cube, The Stylistics and Thom Bell—hip hop’s relationship to the song People Make The World Go Round

By Dan-O

The name you need to know is Thom Bell. Philadelphia Soul is known for its grand production, the downside being major name producers treated the singers as dispensable. The notion became “over this production any reasonable voice is going to sound good.” Thom Bell is the man behind the curtain for not just The Stylistics but The Delfonics and The Spinners.

The missing element for Bell who wrote and produced (Linda Creed co-wrote the classic Stylistics stuff) was the impressive other-worldly falsetto leadership of Russell Thompkins Jr. and the end result was the Stylistics self-titled 1971 album. It is one of the very best in the history of R&B, damn near every song is a recognizable classic.

Hip hop has an intimate relationship with People Make The World Go Round. WC, Ice Cube, and Mack 10 remade it into Gangstas Make The World Go Round in 1996, Scarface into Money Makes the World Go Round in 1997. In 2017 Rick Ross’s second single I Think She Like Me featuring Ty Dolla Sign takes the original whole with a slight strengthening of the original baseline. Can you blame him? People Make The World Go Round is the epitome of that 1970’s Cadillac R &B fully formed unabashedly pimpish. While Rather You Than Me will forever be known as the album he dissed Birdman on (very successfully), it’s kind of his Blueprint full of soulful horns and expertly used R & B singer features(Anthony Hamilton, Raphael Saadiq), leveraged against thumping snarling takeover music(Dead Presidents, She on My Dick, Summer Seventeen). It really does represent all the things he does well done at their highest level.

Most remakes of People make The World Go Round leave the vocals off, dining on Bell’s soundscape whole hog. Ross kept Thompkins dynamic falsetto in the loop. He didn’t want to conceal how much he owed to the original vision of Bell. Ross wants you to know how dope it was when he first heard it.

The original

 

Westside Connection version

Scarface version

Rick Ross featuring Ty Dolla Sign

Sample Snitch-The Look of Love by Isaac Hayes: connecting Jay-z & Irv Gotti to Burt Bacharach

Sample Snitch-The Look of Love by Isaac Hayes: connecting Jay-z & Irv Gotti to Burt Bacharach

by Dan-O

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