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?
I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting to know one R Checka – a long-time DJ and all round niceguy. He also came up with the ingenious “Periodic Table of Hip-Hop Elements” and runs a fantastic hip hop blog connected to it. Just recently he came out with his Modern Dylan mixtape; a high-concept Beck mix. Seeing as he’s got quite a way with words, I’ll let the man himself explain:
Beck has been one of my favorite indefinable artists since 94, my hazy college years. I’ve religiously bought every album and single I could get my hands on since that time. Anything that had his name on it really, his bluesy funky style always struck a chord with me. This is probably the third best of beck mixtape I have created (the first one I made was on cassette tape) and it may not be the last. I call it Modern Dylan, because like Bob, Beck is a story-teller, so in a lot of ways he’s my generation’s Dylan. Coincidentally Beck even toured with Dylan interestingly enough.
I used to be a club DJ for years, and I got very sick of Loser after playing it for countless years. It was at a point, the only Beck song I didn’t like. That was too bad, because it’s a good song, but I was sick of playing it every Saturday night. When I made this mix, I felt obligated to play it, but I knew I could spice it up a little bit without detracting from the original so I decided to remix it. Not to mention that made it easier to mix in the process. I didn’t have any a Capella to work with, so I called the remix what it is, “Rchecks Extended Overlap”. I overlapped on top of the original recording looping the first 2 guitar bars at times. I extended the intro and outro using that guitar loop. Hopefully I did the original justice, nothing worse than a bad remix of a track that people consider a one-hit-wonder song.
All songs on this mixed compilation are from my personal collection of Beck’s original CDs, LPs, EPs, 12”, and 7” recordings. This uploaded mix is the modside (modern). The second side dylside is his slower, more serious country and folk music, not nearly as palatable for a lot of people unfortunately. That side will remain on CD format only for friends and family. However, for serious Beck fans that contact me via email and live within the continental US, I’ll gladly send a hard copy of both discs at no cost. My email can be obtained here. Hope you can dig it. Most importantly, I hope this mix can help you appreciate Beck’s music more.
Oh, two-time world champion DJ Woody, with these teaser videos you are really spoiling us.
Looks like Woody is gearing up to take his 90s themed AV show on the road. I have to say, I saw DJ Yoda do something similar a couple of years ago at The Green Man Festival and it rocked. Woody is a fair bit slicker on the old ones and twos that Duncan, and I’m sure Yoda wouldn’t mind me saying so (as if he’s ever going to read this) so I’m excited already.
One of my absolute favourite blogs over the past couple of years is AORDisco. They recently featured an interview with a Shai Vardi, a guy based in Israel who goes by the handle Virgin Magnetic Material. He’s been cranking out dancefloor friendly edits of rock and pop songs for over two years. Looking at his Soundcloud you’re spoilt for choice but the standout track is one that I’m almost ashamed to admit.
Cast your minds back to the summer of 1995. Whatwere you doing? I remember going on a Scout camp (cos I was cool) and being inducted into the hypnotic and gentle melodies of the Outhere Brothers, but a far bigger hit was Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill. My mum rinsed that album in her Peugeot 306 and I defy anyone to pick out a bad track on it. No, I DARE you to pick out a bad track. There isn’t one! But my least favourite was You Oughtta Know, for the record. Now VMM has flipped my previous sense of what was right and wrong when it comes to ballsy Canadian singer-songwriters on its head!
Please don’t report me to the cool police.
Just a quick one.
Have you ever been listening to a song that you know off by heart, only to hear something you never noticed before?
Case in point: Blur’s Parklife has a saxophone quite low in the mix. It kicks in at about 37 seconds as Phil Daniels says: “John’s got brewer’s droop, he gets intimidated…”.
More mind blowing facts some other time fact fans.