Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Favourite Hip-Hop Samples Vol 1: Breaks Edition

Welcome to My Favourite Hip-Hop Samples. Here I will be discussing my favourite samples in Hip-Hop. Let me point out that this is not so much an education as there are better places for that. These are just some personal opinions (duh). Enjoy.

Since this is the first in the series, I thought I'd begin with some foundations. For those that are unaware, 'Hip-Hop' first came to fruition at bloc parties. These parties, hosted by DJ's such as Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa were predominantly fuelled by assorted funk, soul and disco records. What these aforementioned pioneers would come to realise however was that specific parts of these records sparked a better crowd response. These parts were known as the 'breaks' or 'breakbeats'. A moment of most commonly a 4/4 drum beat that occurred when all other instruments subsided. So, DJ's of New York began extending the break using two turntables and a mixer for the MC's, b-boys/girls to get busy with. Now let me share with you some of my favourite breaks used in Hip-Hop.

ORIGINAL: Al Green - I'm Glad Your Mine

I love that when the break is over it moves in to such a mellow love song because it couldn't be further from most examples of it being reused. Akinyele had a chick telling everyone to put it in her mother-fucking mouth over the beat in '96 for one.

SAMPLE: Notorious B.I.G feat. Eminem - Dead Wrong

The drums hit hardest though when Biggie and Eminem accompany them on 'Dead Wrong'.

ORIGINAL: James Brown - Funky Drummer

Couldn't leave this one out. Clyde Stubblefield laid down what is cited as the most sampled beat ever. Sample starts at 5:35

SAMPLE: Public Enemy - She Watch Channel Zero

Alongside a tasty Slayer riff, Chuck D and Flava Flav let loose about 'garbage' TV polluting minds. God bless Rick Rubin.

ORIGINAL: Melvin Bliss - Synthetic Substitution

RZA loves this break. I've counted 6 songs that he's either produced or rapped on including twice on Enter the 36 Chambers and once on each of ODB and Method Man's respective debut albums.

SAMPLE: Danny Brown - Die Like a Rockstar

Whilst I should have really picked Bring the Ruckus, I've been listening to this more of late. The drums have been switched up slightly giving it a nice freshness but it still remains instantly recognisable (to me at least).

ORIGINAL: Incredible Bongo Band - Apache

Used most famously by Sugar Hill Gang and subsequently made more famous by a dance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 'Apache' is another obvious pick. Please listen all the way through because the bongo's get even better.

SAMPLE: Nas - Made You Look

Salaam Remi then pitched it down for Nas to create 'Made You Look'. Enough said.

ORIGINAL: Isaac Hayes - Breakthrough

Another brilliant track regardless of the break, this comes from the Truck Turner soundtrack in 1974. Isaac should be featuring heavily in this series.

SAMPLE: Gang Starr - Tonz 'O' Gunz

Likewise, Preemo will be a regular occurrence. Adding a baseline to Breakthrough, he does it simply but brilliantly, as does Guru.

Expect some deeper cuts in future volumes. Peace!

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