Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Souled On Samples: The Word Is Bond Edition...

What's good, soul babies? I hope you're ready for me...cuz I. am. back.

I've been wanting to do a Souled On Samples post for quite a while now, but it's always somewhat of a painstaking process for me. I give mad props to the dudes who put together entire sample sets 3 weeks before a hip hop album officially drops, but for better or worse, that's really not my style.

I started this series years ago in the hopes of illustrating how much the hip hop generation owes to its musical predecessors and vice versa. At the time, I was mad frustrated by the lack of respect I saw on both sides of the fence...a lot of hip hop heads don't give proper acknowledgement to the genre's foundation, while many soul/funk/jazz/classic rock enthusiasts dismiss rap music as throwaway, low brow entertainment.

In order to cultivate an environment where we all can get along, I try to put a degree of forethought into the selections I make. Taste in music is always subjective, but if I share anything that you're really not feelin', you can trust that I did so with the best intentions. I'm doing my (unpaid) job when you leave here with not only an appreciation for some classic records, but also for the reincarnated afterlife that talented producers can afford them.

Consider this the anti-Babylon, kids~ we congregate here because on some level we speak the same language. Music has the power to transcend any differences we might identify, so let's hug it out and do this damn thing...

"Cross My Heart"---Billy Stewart (LimeLinx)
"Cross My Heart"---Billy Stewart (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

"Exhibit C"---Jay Electronica (Limelinx)
"Exhibit C"---Jay Electronica (YSI)

*Produced by Just Blaze

*This joint has had the internets goin' bananas for the past couple of weeks, but unlike most phenomena that incite a panoply of exaggerated exclamations, the hype and high praise in this particular instance is actually somewhat warranted.

While those of us who get all religious about Jay Electronica have known about his collabo with Just Blaze for quite a while, it seemed likely that the end result would be lesser than the sum of its parts. As a devoted hip hop enthusiast, I increasingly deem it necessary to employ a defensive stance in the interests of safeguarding myself from disappointment.

Call it a lesson learned, but I shoulda worn a helmet with Viking horns, a diaper and a bulletproof vest the day I first listened to Blueprint 3~ then I could have protected my ass, cerebral cortex, and cardiovascular system from the disillusionment and false hope that understandably ensued. Not only would I have been more fully prepared for the wackness, but the aforementioned attire tends to make for a sexy look in general...

Not long after one Jay fumbled, another one swiftly caught the mic~ a quick save that explains why we can't help but love "Exhibit C" for exceeding our rapidly diminishing expectations. When Blaze aired this track on Tony Touch’s Shade45 show, the response wasn't just overwhelmingly positive~it was...a relief.

Electronica's "God hop" may tend to be a little too pretentious and/or abstract for some, but "Exhibit C" goes a long way towards silencing the man's critics. Lyrically it's more accessible than many of his other tracks, but the rhymes are still clever and insightful enough to keep the thinkers, backpackers, and weirdos like me solidly in his camp. The ability to build a crossover audience is perhaps the most important distinction between the gods and the forgettables, and for the first time I have faith that Electronica possesses the wisdom and foresight to bridge the divide between the streets and the elites.

As for the beat, Just Blaze killed it~ sampling and chopping soul songs is undoubtedly his forte, and this joint is no exception. The Billy Stewart song he mined is definitely dope and his technique is admirable~ but if I can be honest, I think Exile put this record to bed on "It's Coming Down". J Cole recently flipped this Stewart joint too, which is either mad coincidental or further evidence that originality and self-styling are endangered concepts in the current hip hop aesthetic.

You can decide for yourselves if the glass is half full or half empty~ all three producers put a fairly unique spin on the source material, but is this epidemic really necessary in light of the infinite sonic possibilities the universe has to offer? As a very wise man once quipped, "I dunno"...


"It's Coming Down"---Exile (LimeLinx)
"It's Coming Down"---Exile (YSI)

"Get Away"---J Cole (LimeLinx)
"Get Away"---J Cole (YSI)

"Stay"---Yvonne Fair (LimeLinx)
"Stay"---Yvonne Fair (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

"Stay"---Ghostface Killah (LimeLinx)
"Stay"---Ghostface Killah (YSI)

*Produced by Skymark

*Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City is quite possibly my least favorite offering from the veteran MC, but I can't help it~ I still kinda dig when Tony Starks throws down his signature ad libbing over a classic soul track. The playground of unrestrained pleasure and immorality that only Ghost can cultivate is still a uniquely entertaining place to be.

"Love On A Two Way Street"---The Moments (LimeLinx)
"Love On A Two Way Street"---The Moments (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

*Produced by Al Shux

But does anyone remember this, because...ahem...

"Supa Dynamite"---Asamov w/ Mr. Lif (LimeLinx)
"Supa Dynamite"---Asamov w/ Mr. Lif (YSI)

*Produced by Willie Evans Jr.

...the similarities are undeniable. "Supa Dynamite" was supposed to be Asamov's golden ticket to fame, but instead...they got fucked. Don't gasp at me, know I'm right.

Interestingly, Kanye sampled the same Moments track for a Consequence joint a few years ago. The source material is more difficult to detect in this case, but's definitely "Love On A Two Way Street" as well.

"So Soulful"---Consequence/Kanye West/Khayree/John Legend
"So Soulful"---Consequence/Kanye West/Khayree/John Legend

More Souled On Samples:

"Didn't We"---Thelma Houston (LimeLinx)
"Didn't We"---Thelma Houston (YSI)

Sampled On:

"Comeback (Instrumental)"---Skyzoo/9th Wonder (LimeLinx)
"Comeback (Instrumental)"---Skyzoo/9th Wonder (YSI)

*This is one of my favorite 9th Wonder beats of all time~ check the last 30 seconds of the Thelma Houston song for the sampled portion.

"Deliver the Word"---War (LimeLinx)
"Deliver the Word"---War (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

"Betrayal"---Gang Starr w/ Scarface (LimeLinx)
"Betrayal"---Gang Starr w/ Scarface (YSI)

*Produced by DJ Premier/Guru

"I Can't See Nobody"---Nina Simone (LimeLinx)
"I Can't See Nobody"---Nina Simone (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

"The Ecology"---Fashawn (LimeLinx)
"The Ecology"---Fashawn (YSI)

*Produced by Exile

"Baby! You Oughta Think It Over"---Bobby Womack (LimeLinx)
"Baby! You Oughta Think It Over"---Bobby Womack (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled/Interpolated On:

"Think It Over"---Dynas (LimeLinx)
"Think It Over"---Dynas (YSI)

*Produced by Illastrate

"Olé"---John Coltrane (LimeLinx)
"Olé"---John Coltrane (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

"The Hunt"---Aceyalone (LimeLinx)
"The Hunt"---Aceyalone (YSI)

*Produced by Mumbles

"Got To Be There"---Michael Jackson (LimeLinx)
"Got To Be There"---Michael Jackson (YSI)

Dig deeper...

"Hello"---14KT (LimeLinx)
"Hello"---14KT (YSI)

"I've Changed"---The Magictones (LimeLinx)
"I've Changed"---The Magictones (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

*Produced by RZA

In many ways "New Wu" was a return to form for the clansmen, but as for the visual element...uhhhhhhh...this video is dumber than dog piss, children.

"All Because Of You"---Leroy Hutson (LimeLinx)
"All Because Of You"---Leroy Hutson (YSI)

Dig deeper...

Sampled On:

"The F Word (RJD2 Mix)"---Cannibal Ox (LimeLinx)
"The F Word (RJD2 Mix)"---Cannibal Ox (YSI)

Word From Your Moms:

“To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am - my faith, my knowledge, my being.”

“I never even thought about whether or not they understand what I'm doing . . . the emotional reaction is all that matters as long as there's some feeling of communication, it isn't necessary that it be understood.”

“Change is inevitable in music - things change.”

“All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.”

“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.”

---John Coltrane