MixTape Friday: Game Recognize Game
By Canyon Cody
Published in The Heights
Thank God '80s music sucked so bad. Future b-boys were so disgusted by the songs on the radio that they went searching for music in their pop's record collection. What they found was a treasure chest of soul that would supply hip-hop with samples for years to come. After pillaging Motown and sucking dry every last funky riff from the trinity of James Brown, Al Greene, and George Clinton, producers have been forced to dig deeper in those crates of LPs for that perfect sample.
Mtume "Juicy Fruit" Juicy Fruit
Rappers capitalize on the musical public's poor memory. Songs that were over-played radio hits just 10 years prior are now all but forgotten, allowing hip-hop to remix, repackage, and resell old goods. Notorious BIG's classic "Juicy," the first single off Biggie's classic debut Ready To Die, was produced by beat maestro Pete Rock using considerable portions of Mtume's 1985 song "Juicy Fruit." Pete Rock took the light beat and rerecorded the hook with a chorus of women rather than paying Mtume for her vocal sample.
Michael McDonald "I Keep Forgetin" If That's What It Takes
Warren G's "Regulators" keeps the simple, minimalist melody from McDonald's 1982 love song, but changes the former Doobie Brother and Steely Dan background singer's sad, wimpy lyrics from "I keep forgettin' we're not in love anymore/ I keep forgettin' things will never be the same again" to "I got a car full of girls and it's going real swell/ The next stop is the Eastside Motel."
Freddie Scott "(You)Got What I Need" Cry To Me
Listening to Scott's beautiful voice sing his 1968 hit doesn't sound right. Biz Markie has the best horrible voice in hip-hop and his laughably bad singing on "Just A Friend" from The Diabolical Biz Markie is one of the best songs for drunk karaoke. His croon is endearingly off-tune, perfectly matching his cartoon personality with a ridiculous voice.
It was a sad day in hip-hop when Biz Markie sanctioned an R&B remix by teeny-bopper Mario. When given the choice between Freddie Scott and Biz Markie, Pepsi decided to use the Biz in their Super Bowl commercial. Like he said, nobody beats the Biz.
David McCallum "The Edge" Music: A Bit More Of Me
How Dr. Dre ever came across David McCallum's music escapes me. McCallum is an obscure British actor who dabbled in some orchestral writing in the 1960s, producing mostly crappy lounge music, but "The Edge" is his masterpiece. It opens with a bang (the same bang that opens Dre's "Next Episode"), but whimpers off with a light melody. Dre threw some heavy bass on top of McCallum's, to give it the meat you hear on 2001. Ever-thrifty, Dr. Dre usually prefers to rerecord the entire sample in his studio, turning it into an "interpolation" rather than a sample. This allows him to pay only the writer of the song, and not the performer.
Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway "Be Real Black For Me"
No duet since Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong has produced such beautiful, soulful music as Roberta and Donny. From the pathos of "I (Who Have Nothing)" to the lush melody of "When Love Has Grown," the duet's only album was nearly perfect. Scarface looped the short piano intro to "Be Real Black For Me" for his song "On My Block" from The Fix, one of the most under-appreciated hip-hop albums of the last five years.
William Bell "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" Bound To Happen
This is one of the most over-sampled guitar licks in hip-hop. From Ludacris' "Growing Pains" to Dilated Peoples' "Worst Comes To Worst," the electric guitar melody and accompanying chorus of violins beg to be sampled.