I picked this little gem up yesterday at Unique Thrift.
We all remember the classic film; but what about the album it inspired? This late 90′s comp included the likes of Will Smith, Jermaine Dupri, Snoop Dogg, Ginuwine, a young Alicia Keys, The Roots, D’Angelo, Trey Lorenz (his name will be the answer to a jeopardy question one day), Nas, Emoja, ATCQ, an early Destiny’s Child, 3T, De La Soul, Buckshot LeFonque, and the legendary Danny Elfman.
You know, they ask me that all the time. I can tell you like this. One of the samples in the song is from a Quincy Jones record … The piano is from a jazz record that I sampled. I forgot what it was by now, but it was a jazz record that I chopped up and did two different pitches and pressed them on the keyboard.
Sure enough, the melody is instantly recognizable when you pitch down the piano on “Jessica,” as demonstrated by Bronco Hawkeye.
On February 23, 1995, Jay-Z and Big L visited the Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Show to promote the “In My Lifetime” singleand Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, respectively. They dropped a legendary 9 and a half minute freestyle and the full recording has only just surfaced. This moment in hip-hop history is especially surreal considering the paths that lay ahead of the two rappers, who at the time were peers on the NY hip-hop scene. Big L was murdered in 1999, blocks away from his home in Harlem. Jay-Z recently had lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffet.
Play this for a friend whose knowledge of Jay-Z begins with “Roc Boys” and ends with “Empire State of Mind.” They might be surprised that Jay-Z could once hold his own against one of the most dexterous rappers ever.
I lost all interest in Eminem after Relapse, but when he announced that Just Blaze was producing the bulk of the followup, I reluctantly got excited. Just Blaze, the man behind all the Roc-A-Fella classics, “Oh Boy” and most recently “Exhibit C.” This should be interesting, I thought.
Last night, Recovery leaked online and one of the first songs I heard was “No Love” which contains a prominent sample of Haddaway’s “What Is Love.” Utterly disturbed, I went on Twitter to cry about it and call out Mr. Blaze.
kz: why does eminem think it’s ok to sample a night at the roxbury? this beat sounds like someone made it as a joke.Tue Jun 08 00:48:22 via webMetal Lungies
I reacted similarly when T.I. sampled an Internet meme for his single. According to nerd rap doctrine, samples should be old and obscure enough to be archaeological discoveries, preferably from the other side of the world. We like to think of producers as wizards who live in caverns of vinyl and collect records like Pokemon cards. Sampling a 1993 dance song that became an SNL skit and eventually a movie (EMILIOOO!!) is just wrong.
But Just asks a valid question: Why not? What if I pretend I’ve never heard of Haddaway or A Night at the Roxbury and the sample is just another rare loop? Are my elitist perceptions about what’s OK to sample totally arbitrary? I’m sure there two bros rocking out to Weezy’s bars right now with no qualms about the sample. What about “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” which contains a sample of the I Dream of Jeannie theme? There are countless examples of “questionable” samples that get a pass for one reason or another.
I don’t have good answers to those questions. Ultimately, there are no rules to sampling, it’s just a matter of what sounds right at the time. “No Love” has grown on me a little bit (not much) since my initial disgust, but I can’t see how anyone can absorb what Eminem is trying to pull out of his soul without bobbing their head to the side like Chris Kattan.
“I Confess” is a 1995 single released by Philadelphia rapper Bahamadia in support of her ‘96 album, Kollage. “I Confess” is as Q-Tip, would say, a fly love song, produced by Rap-A-Lot architect N.O. Joe. Joe provides a silky smooth backdrop with warm keys, tapping hi-hats wah-wah guitar and a bass line. The chorus is a sung interpolation of the first verse of “Let’s Get It On” that suites the vibe nicely:
I’ve been really tryin’, baby
Tryin’ to hold back this feelin’ for so long
And if you feel like I feel, baby
Then come on, oh, come on
“I Confess” got a second single release in ‘96 for a 12’ with remixes by the Roots and Erick Sermon. The Erick Sermon remix uses the same beat as Redman’s “Da Bump” (released the same year) and features a shorter chorus and adlibs by the Green Eyed Bandit. His beat has a thick bass line and eerie strings that works surprisingly well with Bahamadia’s buttery flow.
But the Roots’ remix is the real treat here, which pairs a live drums with a soothing bass line and woozy synths. Black Thought does very subtle backing vocals and doubles every line in a subtle but ear catching manner. This remix, more than even the original really captures the weak-kneed feeling of falling head over heels. Damn near perfect. Bahamadia even kicks 3 completely new verses and does the chorus herself:
I con-f-e-double es
Shorty show your interest/put me to a test
Yo my love/I con-f-e-double es
Don’t compare ya to the rest because to me you are the best
I can’t find an mp3 of the Erick Sermon remix (listen on YouTube) at the moment but readers, feel free to share in the comments.
Reviving a long-dormant ML feature, which I haven’t done for almost a year now. For those new to Remix Tuesdays: each RT post finds me discussing a song and a remix of said song, comparing the lyrics and production of the OG to the remix. Today’s subject is “Oh My God”, a single released off Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 album Midnight Marauders in ‘94.
Creature offers his CDs to passersby free of charge on 6th Avenue between 8th Street and 9th Street. “Do you like hip-hop?” he asks. If you say yes, he might tell you about how he appeared on Viktor Vaughn’s 2003 album Vaudeville Villain on the song “Open Mic Nite, Part 2.” And if you take one of his homemade CDs, he’ll ask for “a modest donation” in return.
An underground rap artist, Creature peddles his music on compact disc, a format made commercially available in October 1982. But in the independent record store upstairs, the walls are coated with vinyl records, a format which rose to dominance 40 years prior.
According to Nielsen SoundScan data, vinyl records posted record breaking sales numbers on November 8. Two million records were sold, which is 37% more than at the same time last year, and the most since Nielsen began tracking vinyl sales in 1991.
“Not in our market,” scoffed DJ Eclipse who oversees retail at Fat Beats, an independent record store specializing in hip-hop.
Even though vinyl plays an integral role in hip-hop production and DJing, Fat Beats has not enjoyed a share of the surge in vinyl sales. Music industry experts predict vinyl will play a significant role in the recording industry while hip-hop fans and record collectors don’t foresee vinyl expanding beyond a niche audience of audiophiles and enthusiasts.
I can’t believe I missed this. On February 27th, Revive Da Live put on a show dubbed Hip Hop 1942 at Le Poisson Rouge, which is part of a series of concerts aimed at melding jazz and hip-hop. Phonte showed up and joined John Robinson and Raydar Ellis for a Dilla medley backed by a live band. They performed “The Official” and “Fall In Love” as well as the original sample for both, “Diana In The Autumn Wind.” The crowd goes wild when Phonte drops this bracelet:
Smack the fuck out they mouth, Chris Brown y’all niggas
The audio in the video is hardly satisfactory, but you can download a much cleaner recording here.
L. Boogie shuts down London with the assistance of a live band circa February 14th, 1999. Lauryn remains among my all-time favorite female rappers and undoubtedly the crown jewel on The Fugees’ classic album, The Score. Also, I included the original for you smart dumb cats*.