Even with J. Cole’s disclaimer at the beginning about this song not making the album, leaks are a good indicator of where his head has been during the creative process for Born Sinner. Thoughts of sophomore jinx, aspiring to the fiscal level of Drake, and keeping his mother from going back to the 9-5 grind are some of those personal thoughts shared here. The subject matter is delivered in a conversational, laid-back, Sunday afternoon vibe that’s heightened by the soothing sample loop of Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo’s “Nothing Even Matters.”
Anime fans will get a kick out of this one. The Jet Life crew lift the main theme from Ghost In the Shell for a menacing ode to the non-stop grind of street hustling with “No Sleep.” This track is the official first single for Jet World Order 2, set to drop on November 20.
Nas’s Kelis-inspired, Life Is Good closer, “Bye Baby,” gets the appropriate personal video that reveals even more details of their breakup. We see images of the wedding, the bitter end at the divorce table, to finally a cathartic Nas toasting a new beginning with his close friends. And of course, since Guy provides the sample, Aaron Hall is on hand for his vocals. Life is indeed good.
Here’s yet another example that there’s two sides to every story. OGs like 9th Wonder sided with Pete Rock when Lupe’s “T.R.O.Y.” sampling ”Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” dropped earlier this week. After getting branded as a beat thief, Lupe tells his side of what happened. According to Lupe, he reached out to Pete back in November and got his blessing to rework the track.
The biggest thing that stuck out to me about this interview is when Lupe admitted that it was actually his team that reached out to Pete months ago, not himself. Their first conversation about the song was this week! I’m sure Lupe trusts his squad, but a lot can be lost in translation when you use middlemen, something he shouldn’t have done for such a risky move. Reworking “T.R.O.Y.” is like remaking “Mass Appeal” or “Nuthin’ But a G Thang.”
You decide who you believe. For now, Pete Rock has not released a response.
Aside from having one of the coolest names in music history, Coke Escovedo was an accomplished, underrated percussionist. He started out in the Carlos Santana band in 1969 before launching his own band (Azteca) with brother Pete and niece Sheila E. in 1972. After releasing two albums, Coke would launch his solo career with a 1975 self-titled album. He followed it up in 1976 with Comin At Ya, a project aimed at getting more radio airplay.
The album featured a funky, guitar-driven number called “Hangin’ On.” The rough edges of the song are smoothed by a melodic piano intro and female background vocals. The song reaches its apex with a guitar solo that reaches a screeching, orgasmic peak. That point would be the basis for Doom, under his King Geedorah persona, to use the loop for the beat “Fastlane,” off 2003′s Take Me To Your Leader.
Since Lil Kim celebrated her birthday last week, it’s only right to show the Queen Bee some more love here. One of her biggest hits came courtesy of an elegant jazz number from the Jeff Lorber Fusion group called “Rain Dance.” Lorber was an early advocate of what we now know as smooth jazz, and this track can be found on the 1979 album Water Sign. No chopping was necessary; a simple loop was all that was needed to create this memorable backdrop for Kim, Cease and B.I.G. I know you seen me on the video…
Jazz great Wynton Marsalis is not a fan of Hip-Hop culture. Over the last two decades, he’s made numerous statements slamming the validity of the artform due to its use of sampling, and the controversial content of some artists. His strong viewpoints did not deter Pal Joey under his Soho moniker from using one of Marsalis’ traditional jazz pieces to create one of the most recognizable dance beats of the last 25 years. Joey was known in dance circles for his remixes of tracks from artists ranging from KRS-One to Sade. But the hard-hitting drums and aggressive sax-playing of”Hot Music” made the song a crossover underground hit amongst dance enthusiasts, R&B and Hip-Hop fans. The song takes its foundation from just a three-second piano interlude of Marsalis’ “Skain’s Domain,” off 1986′s J Mood. Did Wynton Marsalis approve? Probably not, and the millions of people who’ve tore up dance floors to this around the world could care less.
WYNTON MARSALIS ”SKAIN’S DOMAIN” (SAMPLE BEGINS AT 3:54 MARK)
For practitioners of funk music, The Meters are rightfully considered music royalty. Formed in 1965, the five-man group’s blend of New Orleans second line rhythms with funky guitar and keyboard melodies made them just as important to the popularization of funk music in the 70s as James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone. From the abundance of breaks in their catalogue, producer Rich Harrison found a gem that would become the signature hit of Amerie’s career.
The original is “Oh, Calcutta!,” an instrumental piece off the Meter’s classic sophomore LP Look-Ka Py Py. The standout break comes less than two minutes in after Art Neville’s keyboard work; drummer Ziggy Modeliste does a funky breakdown with Leo Nocentelli adding in well-timed guitar stabs.
THE METERS “OH, CALCUTTA!” (SAMPLE STARTS AT 1:41 MARK)
Harrison would add congo drums and ride cymbals to further enhance the sound with go-go elements. Unfortunately, label Columbia did not see the vision. The track was sent back for multiple rewrites over a six-month span, prompting a frustrated Harrison and Amerie to leak the song to radio outlets and force the label’s hand. The move saved Jennifer Lopez from stealing the song and caused an instant sensation. “1 Thing” would stay on the charts for 20 weeks, maxing out at #8 on Billboard’s Top 100. The gold-certified track would be included on the soundtrack to Will Smith’s movie Hitch and get nominated for a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
“1 Thing” is proof positive that powerful grooves are timeless.
It was one of the biggest mysteries and production debates in Hip-Hop. Because Havoc isn’t talking (probably because he didn’t clear the sample), fans have been digging on their own to identify the main, ominous melody used for “Shook Ones, Part II.” After years of debates, it now appears the elusive original track has finally been found.
First, let’s cover the other three samples used on the song. The famous opening notes come from Quincy Jones’ “Kitty with the Bent Frame,” and the drums courtesy of Daly-Wilson Big Band’s “Dirty Feet.” The chorus is from Mobb’s “Shook Ones Part I.”
QUINCY JONES “KITTY WITH THE BENT FRAME” (1972) (SAMPLE AT 1:16 MARK)
DALY-WILSON BIG BAND “DIRTY FEET” (1975) (BEGINNING NOTES)
For years, everyone believed the main melody was a sample of this track, “Thackeray Meets Faculty,” from composer Ron Grainer. It’s easy to hear why; it sounds just like it in parts. The only problem was no one could ever replicate the exact melody with their equipment despite claims the sample chop could be heard everywhere from the 52 second mark to 2:28 in.
RON GRAINER “THACKERAY MEETS FACULTY” (1967)
Earlier this week, some diggers over at the-breaks.com and soulstrut.com deunked the theory after disclosing their find of Herbie Hancock’s “Jessica.” There are two versions of the song: one LP version of Fat Albert Rotunda, and a live version on VSOP: The Quintet. Since the live one has audience feedback, the LP version was the one that was utilized. Instead of it being a guitar sample, it turns out Havoc actually took the beginning piano notes, which come in around the 3-4 second mark. After slowing down and pitching the notes, you get the famous “Shook Ones, Part II” melody. Check it out for yourself.