Fortune Family’s back with a new single, Fam-uh-la. The other week, Lydia had a great post the other week about samples used in songs, and this one has a lot of samples itself so I thought I’d take you through them.
First, let’s get to the music. Hop samples “Shadow of Lo” by Return to Forever. Return to Forever is a jazz-fusion band from The Big Apple, led by well respected pianist Chick Corea. They made their mark during the 70’s, and came back just a few years ago to do some shows and record new music. Chick Corea is a pretty incredible dude — he played with The Legend Miles Dewey Davis III back in the 60’s — so his chops and credentials are mightily legitimate.
Now, the lyrics. The female voice you hear is Lauryn Hill, sampled from the Fugees song “Ooh La La.” As members of the Fugees, Hill, Wyclef Jean, and rapper Pras Michel were huge; they had a Grammy Winning record in 1996 with “The Score,” which went platinum 4 times over. Then, in 1997, the group went their separate ways, all managing to promote successful solo careers. Hill went on to record her magnum opus, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Clef went on to produce for such acts as Santana and Destiny’s Child, and Pras went on to record with hip-hop god Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Not too shabby all around, I’d say.
The sound clips, to me, add a lot to the song. The first is Bob Ross a painter. Kind of the Richard Simmons of his craft, truly a pleasure to watch.
You’ve also got a clip from Dumb and Dumber, and one from the Peep Show at the end. All in all, a whole lot of different sounds went into creating this song, and it’s cool to see how it all comes together.
Just as with the rest of the world, the music world goes in cycles. Artists creating hit songs today are often building off of their predecessors’ creations. Sometimes I hear a song and think to myself ‘Damn. What an incredible song. Sounds timeless.’ More often than not, it’s because they’re borrowing from a song that was created before their time. Ah, the art of sampling.
So often today, artists use samples that we come to know and love, and I think the origin of the sample often goes unnoticed. The idea of samples has always interested me, particularly in cases when producers dig up samples that I’ve never heard before and turn them into something suddenly so popular. I imagine producers going into old record collections, dusting off cases open cases of records, placing the vinyl on the record player, and hearing a snippet of a song that suddenly inspires them to create something with that bit of a song. I’d be interested to know what they listen for, and whether they’re often looking for something to begin with or they tend to find something while in the act of searching, but I assume each artist goes about it differently. If you’re reading this and you’ve been sample searching, leave a comment with your method of discovery. Either way, I thought I’d introduce (or re-introduce) you guys to some of the songs that have been sampled in popular music today, just so we can take a second to appreciate the origins of those clips.
1. Perhaps the textbook case today. AVICII samples Etta James in his hit song “Levels.” (Disclaimer: Pretty Lights had sampled it before in his song “Finally Moving,” but the song didn’t take off as rapidly as “Levels.”)
MP3: “Levels” – Avicii
2. Kanye West, in his popular song “Champion” off of Graduation, borrowed from Steely Dan‘s song “Kid Charlemagne.”
3. In some examples, artists take a sample and flip it into something that sounds altogether different. In this example, though, Kanye West and Jay-Z stick pretty close to the original in their sampling Otis Redding in their song “Otis.”
4. An artist who’s taking off these days is A$AP Rocky. You may or may not know that he used a sample of The S.O.S. Band‘s “No One’s Gonna Love You” in his song “Peso.”
MP3: “Peso” – A$AP Rocky
5. Love the instrumentals in Drake and Rihanna‘s “Take Care?” Me too. Again, not an original. It’s sampled from Gil Scott-Heron‘s “I’ll Take Care Of U,” but is actually the Jamie xx remix.
Sampled (Jamie xx Remix):
MP3: “Take Care” (ft. Rihanna) – Drake
6. Bet you think that LMFAO knocked it out of the park with their “Party Rock Anthem,” hm? It’s cool, they did. But they had the help of Steve Winwood and his original song “Valerie.” (Sample appears at the 1:02 mark.)
7. Even Common chooses to use samples in some of his songs. In one of his latest efforts, “Blue Sky,” he picked a piece of Electric Light Orchestra‘s “Mr. Blue Sky” to craft his sound.
MP3: “Blue Sky” – Common
8. Eminem dug into the 1975 records to pull out Labi Siffre‘s “I Got The” for his popular song “My Name Is.” Incredible original song, and great use of the sample by Marshall Mathers. (Sample can be heard at the 2:10 mark.)
9. One of my favorite songs recently is Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know (ft. Kimbra).” I was fooled originally, thinking this was 100% Gotye’s creation. Turns out, they sampled a Latin song from 1967 by a man named Luiz Bonfa called “Seville.” Incredible find, Gotye and Kimbra!
10. This one is a bit of a more modern sample (2010), so it may to come as obvious to many, but it’s a great one nonetheless. Young rapper Mac Miller borrowed from popular indie-rock artist Sufjan Stevens in his jam “Donald Trump.”
So those of you who stay privy to national disasters will be aware of the ridiculous amount of snow that was just dumped upon my hometown of Chicago. Anyway, everything kind of shut down, people kind of lost their minds, it was crazy. Biggest blizzard in decades. That being said, I completely forgot to do a Womp Womp Wednesday post. Take this as my apology, and rage extra hard this weekend listening to these tracks. GO STEELERS!
1. Black and Yellow (Big Gigantic and Samples Remix) – Wiz Khalifa
So I’ve posted a Black and Yellow dubstep remix on a previous Womp Womp Wednesday, but this is the best I have heard yet. Makes up for the travesty of a remix that was Lil Wayne’s “Green and Purple” . Big Gigantic is a very talented group (check out their remix of “Opposite of Adults,” a personal favorite). Samples has also been featured on Sunset, in last week’s Womp Womp Wednesday Anyways, Big Gigantic and Samples team up for a dope little womper here, definitely going to be my jam when the Steelers run train on the Packers.
2. “Pumping Quarterz (Mochipet Remix) – Splatinum
Ok so I don’t even really know how to describe this one. I’ve been meaning to put it on a Womp Womp Wednesday post for quite some time, but I’ve always been at a lack for words. And I guess that’s the best way to describe this one. Listen, and you’ll be at a loss for words. Just absolutely filth, the noises Splatinum and Mochipet combine to make on this track are just indescribably dirty. Listen, I guess, because I can’t even describe this. People go NUTS when I play this live.
3. “Hide and Seek (Roksonix Dubstep Remix)” – Imogen Heap
So there are some acapellas that just seem like they should be made into filthy dubstep tracks. The problem is, if you’re going to take one of those acapellas and make it into dubstep, you better do it well, or it will just be a big disappointment. I’ve waited to hear a good Imogen Heap dub remix, and Roksonix was the first to step up and supply. I like the fact that he lets the acapella shine, which is an asset because Imogen Heap is just brilliantly talented and original, but Roksonix was the first to deliver.
Enjoy. Womp all weekend my friends. Black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow, go Steelers.