Slow down: moving towards a new method of assessing 90s hip-hop tracks that used downpitched mid-to-late 80s commercial R&B hooks
So catchy titles aren’t my strong point.
I’m not sure if anybody else follows Ego Trip’s frankly amazing “Producer X’s favourite sample flips” series. Essentially every few weeks a new producer runs down his (for is is always a he) favourite sample flips. So far we’ve seen A-Trak, DJ Spinna, Lord Finesse, Large Professor, J.Rocc, Prince Paul and loads more.
This week sees Easy Mo Bee tell it like it is.
At his number five is Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless by Lost Boyz which samples Jealousy by Club Nouveau. He says:
Timex Social Club made “Rumors.” One of their follow up singles [as Club Nouveau] was this record called “Jealousy.” It’s the same dudes that produced En Vogue, Thomas McElroy and Denzel Foster – way before they did En Vogue. “Jealousy” was obviously meant to sound a lot like “Rumors.” Really commercial sounding record. Drum machine type record, keyboards, everything. I slowed it down. I took this really, really commercial R&B sounding record and was like, I wanna make this dirty, gritty, funky. “Lifestyles” was like ’94-’95. “Jealousy” – somewhere around ’85, ’86. Now back then in that era it was kinda taboo to be using samples that recent. I mean, if you was supposed to be a “real hip-hop producer.” I liked those little keyboard hits [from “Jealousy”]. But my drums on top – they gotta overpower the sound of the drums that they had in there. I’m gonna smother that record so much till you’re not gonna hear nothing else going on really in that sample except for that [keyboard].
Funkmaster Flex used to love the beginning of that. I had an intro where I doubled up in the beginning [sings beat] and he used to cut up that part of the song. And I’m looking in the club, people dancing, I’m like, yo you did it, man. If any of them sat back and listened to the original record that it came from – the original speed, the original pitch of the record and everything – they woulda had a totally different [reaction]. They wouldn’t get it.
What he says about using “recent” samples piques my interest. Here are the two tracks:
So he’s taken a pretty cheesy 80s R&B tune and just downpitched it to make it a bit more rugged and raw. Reminded me straight away of KMD’s What a Nigga Know off the Bl_ck B_st_rds album.
Which samples Jody Watley’s Looking for a New Love.
again, using a similar technique.
I guess it’s true that most of the sample sources for 90s hip hop came from the more “respectable” areas of 60s and 70s soul, funk and other dusty-finger-inducing genres. Sure, we’d had Spyder D sampling Nu Shooz I Can’t Wait (actually an interpolation if my sources are correct) and Biggy’s Juicy but it wouldn’t be until the later 90s with Bad Boy sampling Diana Ross’s gay anthem I’m Coming Out before this kind of think took off, and it was never really slowed down to the same extent.
And so, as this poorly researched post fizzles out, can any readers think of other tunes where this technique has been used?
This is some mad ass Italian funk that sounds like English but…isn’t? Or it might be?
Here’s a glimpse of Run-D.M.C. performing live on Graffiti Rock in 1984. This is seriously one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen – no exaggeration. Perhaps years of seeing mediocre live rap has jaded me but they are just a cut above. It actually looks like they’ve practised, the DJ and the MCs [*gasp*] are doing things that compliment each other (01.31) and both Run and DMC are delivering the lines like they mean it, rather than sloppily rambling off two verses before the DJ does a spinback and they go “YEAH!”.
Watch out for the popper in a white shirt who self consciously muscles in front centre in front of the camera as Jay start cueing up the record as well. It’s hilarious.
Derby’s grand pappy of smooth grooves DJ Wax On has didn’t go out for new years, he spent it in his sumptuously appointed lounge sipping a fine Japanese whiskey on a soft leather beanbag while twiddling knobs to make this smooth jazz-fusion mix.
I listened to this and when I woke up I was having sex with EVERYTHING.
While staying at my Dad’s for Christmas I spend many a happy hour browsing through his records for hidden classics. I’m always amazed at how I can find new (to me) records every time I go round, despite him having only about 200 pieces.
Anyway, I came across an early ‘Best Of’ of a female singer who I’d never heard of. After a little Googling it turns out she had one monster hit in ’78 but never really managed to follow it up, despite a career that continues to this day. Anyway, there was this one acapella track on her Best Of which reminded me of Florence and the Machine and would make a great remix or re-edit in the right hands. I’d probably murder it.
I’m not going to post the song because I reckon this has real legs and don’t want to throw it to the wolves. This needs the right treatment. If anyone fancies having a go then get in touch!
Merry bloody Christmas.
If you have the good fortune to live in the UK, you may have noticed that last night’s primetime Christmas Day programme was a special edition of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. Whether you like or dislike him is a discussion for another day, but he did manage to raise my hackles by pretending to not know the words to one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York
My feelings towards this song have cooled inrecent years. I swear that ten years ago it wasn’t as well known and it seemed like a kind of exclusive miserablist anthem but maybe I’m being overly nostalgic.
Anyway the premise of this “gag” is that nobody knows the words to this song and so let’s all sing along even though we don’t know the words lol!1!!1!1
Except he clearly does. From about 3.50 in. Enjoy eating jar after jar of delicious chutney to this!