Know Your Samples

Know Your Samples: The Main Ingredient Edition


Music fans the world over were saddened by Thursday’s news on the passing of Main Ingredient lead singer Cuba Gooding Sr. Today, we here at BeatsBoxingMayhem salute the man and his legacy by highlighting his group’s most important samples in Hip-Hop.


Formed in Harlem in 1964, the group originally featured a lineup of Donald McPheron (lead singer), Luther Simmons Jr. and Tony Silvester. The trio went through several names changes (The Poets, The Insiders) before settling on The Main Ingredient in 1968, picking a name inspired by the label of a Coke bottle.

After bouncing around a few labels, the group began making noise in 1970 with the Top 30 hit “You’ve Been My Inspiration.” The song powered the group’s debut project LTD. Decades later, the album cut “Magic Shoes” found new life as the opening sounds of the classic Main Source 1992 single “Fakin’ the Funk,” and Little Brother’s “On the Way.”




9th Wonder continued digging in the trio’s catalogue and chopped up the beginning of “Baby Change Your Mind,” off their third album Black Seeds.




Success was soon mired by immense tragedy in 1971 when lead singer Don McPherson died from leukemia. Gooding Sr., who had previously sung background vocals for the group, was selected as the replacement to accompany Luther Simmons and Tony Silvester.

The decision had immediate dividends with their biggest hit in “Everybody Plays the Fool.” The song hit #2 on the R&B chart and #3 on pop, powering the album Bitter Sweet for their first Top 10 project. Emcees such as Heavy D, Memphis Bleek and Kool G Rap would create drastically different songs with the original’s easygoing production.





The next album, Afrodisiac, is notable for recruiting a powerhouse writing and production team that included George Clinton and Stevie Wonder. For Hip-Hop fans, the track “Something ‘Bout Love” is most notable for providing the backdrop to the Fugees’ “Cowboys.”



1974’s Euphrates River produced the platinum single “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely.” The heavy opening bassline would be tweaked by Eminem for his “Mosh” single.


Producer Easy Mo Bee would combine the opening seconds from “California My Way” and a fleeting but recurring melody from “Summer Breeze” (9 second mark) for Ready To Die’s “Things Done Changed.”




In 1975, the group released the album Shame On the World and caught the ear of Alchemist and Kanye West on “Let Me Prove My Love to You.” The former focused on the 13 second mark to craft “The First to Drop a Beat…,” while Ye hit up the 1:46 portion to give Alicia Keys one of her most soulful records.




Main Ingredient would record five more albums over the next 30 years, the last being 2001’s Pure Magic. Gooding would also release 3 solo albums. We here at BeatsBoxingMayhem send our condolences to the Gooding family. The music and legacy lives on.

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