Explore Motown’s Most Influential, Most Sampled and Most Covered!

UK TV channel ITV recently broadcast a celebration of Motown, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Motown Song‘, revealing the captivating stories behind 20 of the label’s best loved hits and their performers. Based on an audience poll, the show provides a run down of public’s chosen tracks in order of popularity, ultimately revealing the ‘Nation’s Favourite’. Universal records have released an accompanying compilation of the featured tracks, which has already topped iTunes and Amazon best seller’s charts. In support of the release, Universal have produced a fantastic set of infographics detailing Motown’s most influential, most sampled and most covered artists powered by WhoSampled data.

Click on each of the images below to open each of the interactive infographics in a new tab. Happy exploring!

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Competition: The Grandmaster Flash Collection

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Legendary DJ and founding father of hip-hop Grandmaster Flash has put together a definitive collection of hip-hop classics from the last 35 years, entitled ‘The Grandmaster Flash Collection’, which promises to be a phenomenal album containing many defining moments of the hip-hop age, along with an exclusive Grandmaster Flash DJ mix.

Released today (August 18th) this 4cd compilation is filled with hits that perfectly encapsulate the hip-hop scene, from pioneers The Sugarhill Gang, Run-DMC, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Eric B. & Rakim, N.W.A. and Afrika Bambaataa through to some of the biggest hip-hop artists of all time such as Dr Dre, Nas, Gang Starr, Jay Z, Busta Rhymes, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, Redman, A Tribe Called Quest, The Notorious B.I.G, OutKast and Eminem. Check out the TV trailer below:

Grandmaster Flash first started DJing in his teens, heavily influenced by his dad’s record collection. As the formative hip-hop group, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five were a widely renown fixture on the freestyle battle circuit in NYC in the early 1970s, through to the first documented instance of record cuttin’ in 1981 on the groundbreaking Sugarhill Records single ‘The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash and the Wheels of Steel’ – where the DJ became the superstar. The group are best known for the seminal track and social commentary that was ‘The Message’ in 1982, which catapulted them towards widespread acclaim and recognition. The track is regularly voted the most important hip-hop single of all time, and was the first of the group’s three Top 10 hits in the UK.

Pre-order the album now

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TGMFCamz
& iTunes http://smarturl.it/GMFCollection?iqid=p.r

WIN A SIGNED COPY

We’re offering one lucky reader the chance to get their hands on a signed copy of the collection from the man himself! All you need to do is answer the following question:

Competition question: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel’ is widely considered to be the first record ever released made entirely using samples but how many records did Flash sample on the track all together? [Clue: the answer can be found on WhoSampled!]

Email your answers to competitions@whosampled.com with ‘Grandmaster Flash Comp’ in the subject heading. Please be sure to include your full name and entries must be received no later than 5pm (BST) on 20th August 2014.

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Top 10 Most Sampled Classical Composers

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Words: Joe Bourne

Classical music is comparatively speaking something of an untapped resource for sample material. The term ‘classical’ itself is used to reference the best part of a millennium of musical creativity in the Western world, and as such it is perhaps unsurprising that popular music styles have only just touched the surface of this vast pool. Nevertheless, a good start has been made in a number of genres in uncovering this wealth of musical potential. In recent months major label house signings Clean Bandit have re-interpreted Mozart following in the footsteps of a catalog of dance acts from the past 20+ years. Here WhoSampled takes a look at the composers who have had the greatest influence on music of the recent past. While the first few on our list are best remembered for individual works, the top 5 most sampled composers correlate closely with the esteem these composers hold in the classical world:

r2_2009328_10262893496110. Erik Satie (1866-1925) – 31 samples

French pianist and composer Satie makes the list in the most part due to his First Gymnopédie. Two of his three Gymnopédies were ‘covered’ (re-orchestrated) by Debussy at the end of the 19th century. While this increased the popularity of the collection during Satie’s lifetime, it is the composer’s original piano version that has dominated the work’s recent past. This piano miniature, with its familiar chord sequence, has become a favourite in film and TV, notably suiting the ethereal climax of Oscar-winning documentary Man On Wire. The piece has also been covered by Gary Numan and sampled by artists including Blood, Sweat & Tears and Janet Jackson. The latter’s anecdotal account of the origins of the chorus of “Someone to Call My Lover” sums up the unidentified nostalgia that much classical music tends to represent.

r2_2009328_1026289349619. Carl Orff (1895-1982) – 32 samples

Orff goes down in today’s classical repertoire as something of a ‘one-hit wonder’ due to the unparalleled fame of the movement “O Fortuna” from his cantata Carmina Burana, composed in the mid 1930s. The text, primarily in Latin, covers a wide range of 13th-century moral issues ranging from gambling to eroticism. The powerful chorus was embraced by the Nazi party and the composer’s output has since struggled to escape these polemics. Orff’s relationship with Nazism is the subject of some debate – the popularity of his music with the Nazis is thought to have served him well financially, although he sought to distance himself from the association. Outside the classical sphere however, “O Fortuna” has become a go-to piece when evoking terror and destruction in movies, and it is often used to comic effect in TV commercials. This rousing segment has led to plenty of samples, particularly in hip hop including tracks by Nas and Cam’ron, and an apocalyptic outro by Busta Rhymes.

r2_2009328_1026289349618. Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) – 36 samples

The oldest composer to make our Top 10 is the German Baroque organist Pachelbel. His Canon in D major was immensely popular among contemporary audiences, but thereafter it lay forgotten until its revival in the 20th century. In many ways, its form could be considered a model for much chord-driven popular music. Its fundamental elements – a basso ostinato on the organ and a short and repetitive chord progression built from a three-part string canon – translate to the modern day bass riff beneath a four-bar chord sequence. Beyond the broader influence of classical music on popular music, this piece has had a specific impact on recent music too. Coming to prominence as the focus of the soundtrack for Robert Redford’s 1980 Oscar-winning Ordinary People, it has gone on to form the backdrop to tracks across the genres, including a hip hop instrumental for Coolio, bubblegum pop-rap by Vitamin C, and a song by N-Dubz in the 2010 movie StreetDance 3D.

r2_2009328_1026289349617. Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) – 45 samples

The sole Scandinavian composer in our list is the patriotic Norwegian pianist Grieg. An important figure during the Romantic period, his music ranges from celebrated piano music to orchestral portrayals of fairytales. His Piano Concerto in A minor has been sampled by Army of the Pharaohs, but it is the Peer Gynt Suite that remains the composer’s best-known set of pieces. “Solveig’s Song” is featured in a track by Wax Tailor, and the most recognisable number is “In the Hall of the Mountain King“. Its pointed bassoon melody has been borrowed by Delinquent Habits and transformed for the digital generation by Zedd.

r2_2009328_1026289349616. Julius Fučík (1872-1916) – 50 samples

Czech composer Fučík is easily the least famous person to make the list. Despite his celebrity not extending beyond a few military marches, it is his “Grande Marche Chromatique” that survives today under the better-known title “Entrance of the Gladiators“. Due to its circulation in North America in the early part of the 20th century, the work has become synonymous with circus imagery and theatre-organ pipes. In hip hop, the tricksy melody has been sampled by House of Pain, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, but many other genres have also borrowed this ditty. Frank Sinatra, Elton John and even the Backstreet Boys have interspersed this melody with the surrounding textures.

r2_2009328_1026289349615. Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) – 55 samples

The top 5 consists of composers whose output is sampled in a far broader sense than simply in terms of individual masterpieces. It begins with a second and more noteworthy Polish composer-cum-pianist, Chopin. His solo piano works – particularly the book of 24 Preludes, Op. 28 – helped to establish an important part of the keyboard lineage connecting back to the great J.S. Bach, who features later in this list. Perhaps the most famous of these Preludes is the one in E minor, whose sliding chromatic harmony has been sampled by French hip-hop group Suprême NTM, and the funereal progression of the C minor Prelude has been used by Estelle. However, Chopin’s most sampled work is the Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, which has featured in tracks by Duke Ellington and Deadmau5, and you may also remember it as the wrestler Undertaker’s entrance music.

r2_2009328_1026289349614. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) – 69 samples

The late-Romantic Russian composer wrote works across the genres, with a Violin Concerto that has been sampled by Billy Joel, incidental music that has been borrowed by Deep Purple, and an Overture-turned-guitar-shred in the hands of Rush. Nevertheless, his mainstream popularity endures thanks to the continued success of his ballets, including The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, the latter of which forms the basis for Natalie Portman‘s Oscar-winning performance in the 2010 blockbuster Black Swan. These pieces have been sampled over and again by artists including RZA, Exile and Pet Shop Boys.

r2_2009328_1026289349613. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) – 74 samples

The final three on our list are the unrivalled heavyweights of classical music. Those who have seen the biopic Amadeus will be familiar with the conception of Mozart-as-Wunderkind, and although the composer did not live long, his output is phenomenally large and undeniably important, comprising concertos, choral works and countless miniatures. However, composers of the classical period were measured primarily by their success in the genre of the symphony, and Mozart’s contributions – numbering in excess of 40 – place him alongside Haydn as one of the great classical symphonists. His works have formed the backbone of a wide range of songs. One features as a Ludacris beat, another can be heard in a Supertramp song, and part of the Requiem Mass became the anthem for a Dutch festival. Most recently, Clean Bandit reused the composer’s work in the aptly titled ‘Mozart’s House’.

r2_2009328_1026289349612. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – 85 samples

Our second entry from the Baroque period is also a German organist, but one of incomparable stature. Given Bach’s legendary status even in the present day, you may be surprised to learn just how long he has commanded this level of respect. The vast majority of the great composers of the past 250 years will have used Bach’s two books of 24 Preludes and Fugues (one for every key) as a model for learning to write counterpoint. That the influence of these masterworks has not faded is a testament to the clarity of the composer’s compositional method. The famed Toccata and Fugue in D minor has been sampled many times by artists including DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and, more recently, Eminem. Other great artists to have borrowed from Bach include The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

r2_2009328_1026289349611. Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) – 113 samples

It is fitting that the most-sampled composer is also arguably one of the most influential musicians of all time. It is not the volume of Beethoven’s output that is remembered, but the unparalleled impact the composer had in his own time, bridging the gap between what we now know as the Classical and Romantic periods, and thereby uprooting the tried and tested system of tonality by pushing it to a point of no return. A broad range of his works have been sampled: the piano work Für Elise has been used by Nas; the fifth Symphony was sampled in a Walter Murphy track, which subsequently was built upon by Robin Thicke; and the Moonlight Sonata was sampled by Alicia Keys.

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WhoSampled joins Complex Media Network

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We are pleased to announce that WhoSampled has now joined the Complex Media Network. WhoSampled remains an independent site but now enjoys the benefit of being part of the web’s leading network for style, music, apparel and much more. We’ll be in the company of a host of great music sites on the network including the likes of HipHopDX, DJ Booth, AllMusic and of course Complex itself.

Regular visitors to our site will have already noticed the addition of the Complex share bar at the foot of the site, showing a live feed of news items from across the Complex network allowing you to keep up with the latest news from Complex affiliated sites.

We look forward to bringing our unique brand of music discovery to the network and continuing to share the best in new music and facilitate discovery of great music from the past.

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Michael Jackson ‘Off the Wall’ 35th Anniversary

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Words: Joe Bourne / WhoSampled staff

This weekend marks the 35th Anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s fifth studio album, Off the Wall, the Quincy Jones produced classic long player that marked a new era in the Michael Jackson sound, moving away from the Motown stylings of his popular early material toward a new hybrid of pop, funk and disco. The album found both critical and popular success: it earned Jackson his first Grammy since the early ’70s, and its 20 million sales make it one of the best-selling albums of all time. To commemorate this milestone, WhoSampled provides an insight into the album’s lasting influence via a breakdown of the many samples, covers and remixes of the album’s timeless tracks.

1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (sampled 49 times, covered 12 times, remixed twice)

The album’s opening cut is also the LP’s lead single and one of the album’s best loved tracks. Released as a single a month prior to the album, the track was a US Billboard #1, achieving Platinum sales in the process. The syncopated bass riff that opens the track is punctuated with a trademark MJ ‘woo’ before giving way to disco strings and horns with remarkably simple chord structure that underpins a complex web of rhythmic instruments. The track has been sampled 49 times with the famous ‘woo’ being among the most popular samples, appearing for example in Jazzy Jay’s mid 80s cut up classic ‘Def Jam‘. The track was also sampled in a more wholesale fashion by Beyoncé in her 2009 unreleased track ‘Black Culture’, has been covered by the likes of easy listening household name James Last and remixed by house music royalty Masters at Work and Roger Sanchez.

2. Rock With You (sampled 39 times, covered 19 times, remixed twice)

The tempo slows only marginally for the second track, moving from disco to a more funk-led groove. ‘Rock With You’ was the album’s second single released several months after the album in late 1979. Also a US Billboard #1, it is credited as being the 4th biggest selling single of 1980. Of the many samples of the track Burial’s dark interpretation is worthy of mention. Sample meets cover version in Ashanti’s pop-RnB rework and the ‘Rock With You’ vocal sample finds its way into De La Soul‘s montage of ‘Rock’ themed vocal snippets ‘Cool Breeze on the Rocks’. The track’s producer Quincy Jones covered the track in the mid 90s in an RnB style with the assistance of the late Heavy D and Brandy. Remixes again come courtesy of house music legends Masters at Work and the late great Frankie Knuckles.

3. Working Day and Night (sampled 7 times)

Another fast-paced rhythm track, ‘Working Day and Night’ combines a driving bass line with frenetic percussion, pushing syncopation to the limit as the track draws to a close. The track forms the backbone of  Will Smith‘s  Jazzy Jeff produced album track ‘Can You Feel Me?‘. Percussion from the track was also sampled for Michael’s posthumous duet with Justin Timberlake from this year’s Xscape album ‘Love Never Felt So Good’.

4. Get on the Floor (sampled 6 times)

The slap bass at the foot of this track and the off-beat hi-hat provide the perfect backdrop for Jackson’s soaring vocals. The track returns to more disco-y territory with sweeping strings also making another appearance. That disco pulse has been sampled by some greats including Jeff Mills who utilises the track’s drums and vocal adlibs for his infectiously repetitive techno reworking ‘Call of the Wild‘.

5. Off the Wall (sampled 13 times)

The album’s title track moves to more laid-back territory with an incredibly catchy boogie head-nodder. Released as a single in early 1980, the track would be Jackson’s third top ten single from the LP. Written by Rod Temperton, the track owes some its song-writing to another of Temperton’s compositions, Heatwave’s ‘Boogie Nights’. Jackson’s multi tracked vocals really come into their own during the track’s chorus ‘just enjoy yourself’, that vocal hook forming the chorus of Chubb Rock‘s uptempo album track ‘Enjoy Ya Self’.

6. Girlfriend

The album’s 5th and final single is a cover of a Wings’ ‘Girlfriend‘. Written by Paul McCartney, this track was a sign of things to come as MJ and the Beatles singer went on to have numerous collaborations, most notably the 1982 hit single ‘The Girl Is Mine’.

7. She’s Out of My Life (sampled 3 times, covered 32 times)

The album’s million selling 4th single is a far-cry from the driven bass lines and fast-paced rhythmic drive of the rest of the album. ‘She’s Out of My Life’ shows the singer’s more sensitive side with a ballad in which Jackson’s voice approaches the sound of crying in the closing moments. Not particularly heavily sampled, the track has been covered more than 30 times by artists including Shirley Bassey, Ginuwine and even S Club 7.

8.  I Can’t Help It (sampled 24 times, covered 12 times)

Energy is resumed for the smooth uptempo number with the syncopated bass back in the limelight. The atmospheric Rhodes and bass combination from the track’s intro notably forms the foundation for De La Soul‘s early 90s classic ‘Breakadawn’. Covers of the track include a smooth jazz rework by Grover Washington Jr.

9. It’s the Falling in Love (sampled twice)

This track returns to MJ’s softer side for a love song featuring Patti Austin. Accordingly, the focus swings back from rhythm to harmony, with solo verses from each of the singers. The second cover version to appear on the LP, the track was originally recorded by Carole Bayer Sagel in 1978.

10. Burn This Disco Out

Fittingly, this predominantly disco led long player plays out with an up tempo dancefloor cut, introduced with a rousing horn line, the drums, hand claps and bustling bassline that characterise the album’s sound are all present.

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Win Tickets to Public Enemy’s Private Audience Show at London’s Metropolis Studios

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On Wednesday 6th August, Public Enemy are to perform the most intimate gig of their career at London’s world famous Metropolis Studios. Just 100 fans will have the chance to witness Public Enemy record a live album inside the famous Metropolis Studio A, the very room where Amy Winehouse recorded ‘Back to Black’.

We have a pair of tickets (worth £250 each!) to this exclusive event to give away to one lucky reader. The winner and his/her guest will also each receive an exclusive WhoSampled goody bag at the event including a signed Flavor Flav photo print worth £50 courtesy of Classic Material.

For a chance of winning, all you need to do is answer the following question:

“Public Enemy appear at what number in WhoSampled’s Top 10 most sampled artists chart?” [Clue the answer can be found on WhoSampled!]

Email your answers to competitions@whosampled.com with ‘Public Enemy Comp’ in the subject heading. Entries must be received no later than 4pm BST on 5th August 2014. The winner will be randomly selected from the correct entries and notified by email.

Ticket numbers are extremely limited, so those of you not wishing to take your chances with the competition, tickets can be purchased here. Those of you who have purchased, simply email your proof of purchase to the email address above and we’ll ensure you also receive one of our goody bags!

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Lunice x LuckyMe – ‘Can’t Wait to’ [Video] produced in conjunction with Lexus NX


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Sponsored post

In celebration of the launch of the new Lexus NX mid-size SUV, Lexus have launched ‘NX-Perspectives’, a digital art exhibition for which leading artists from the worlds of fashion, music and design have been invited to create fresh new work inspired by the design of the Lexus NX.

Kicking off the project is LuckyMe artist Lunice, an artist who has graced the WhoSampled ‘Hot Samples’ chart on a number of occasions and dominated our end of year ‘Best of’ lists in 2012 for his Hudson Mohawke collaboration ‘Higher Ground’. For ‘NX-Illuminated’, the TNGHT member has produced a video for his new single ‘Can’t Wait To’, drawing inspiration from the lighting of the Lexus NX to create striking projection mapped visuals. Utilising his unique approach to live performance, Lunice sets lights and patterns reflective of the lighting of the car against billowing fabric, overlaying them with silhouetted dance moves indicative both of motion associated with the vehicle and the energy of the underlying track.

Find out more about NX-Perspectives here: http://nxperspectives.eu/

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Discover WhoSampled Mr Dynamite with Get On Up James Brown!

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We are pleased to announce that WhoSampled has partnered with Universal Music to present a new website celebrating the most sampled artist of all time, The Godfather of Soul, James Brown. To coincide with the release of the new James Brown biopic, ‘Get On Up: The James Brown Story‘, in movie theatres across the US on August 1st, the official website of the movie’s soundtrack, Get On Up James Brown showcases the influence that James Brown has had on popular music over the past 60 years.

Sampled more than 4,000 times, James Brown’s music laid the foundations on which early sample based hip hop and dance music was built and in turn has gone on to influence generations of music makers. Powered by WhoSampled data, ‘Get On Up James Brown’ allows users to explore the legacy of Brown’s music via a range of interactive features which include:

- An interactive timeline, tracing James Brown’s best loved and most influential tracks from the 1950s through to the present day highlighting music James Brown was influenced by and those who he influenced and worked alongside, including the likes of Public Enemy, Blackstreet and the Black Eyed Peas.

- A focus on the connections between James Brown and the artists of hip hop’s most influential label, Def Jam. By reference to Def Jam artists who have sampled Brown’s work, including the likes of Nas, Jay Z, Kanye, Public Enemy and Slick Rick, the impact of the James Brown sound on the worldwide explosion of hip hop is explored.

- Spotify playlists of James Brown’s most sampled tracks, those who have sampled his work, his most popular productions and Def Jam artists he has influenced. Curated audio journeys ready to be played and shared!

Start exploring at www.getonupjamesbrown.com!

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Public Enemy Perform Exclusive Show at London’s World Famous Metropolis Studios

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On Wednesday 6th August, Hip-Hop heavyweights Public Enemy are to perform the most intimate gig of their career at London’s world famous Metropolis Studios. WhoSampled is proud to co-present this once in a lifetime event.

With only 100 tickets available for this exclusive event, fans will get “up close and personal” with Public Enemy who will be performing live inside the famous Metropolis Studio A, the very room where countless artists have recorded classic albums, ranging from Amy Winehouse‘s ‘Back to Black’ (produced by Mark Ronson) to Rihanna‘s ‘Unapologetic’.

Known as pioneers of sample based music for their frenetic productions and unconventional approach to the art of sampling, Public Enemy are also the world’s most sampled living artists (and the second most sampled artists of all time)! The rap collective has been breaking down barriers, blurring distinctions and challenging the status quo since the early 80s, and this never-to-be-repeated event will be one of the greatest fan events in their illustrious history – a history which has not mellowed the band – indeed, they still perform live with all the ire and intensity of a hardcore punk band.

Tickets can be purchased here, and given the extremely low quantity available, we advise any serious Public Enemy disciples to book them as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

 

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Beastie Boys ‘Paul’s Boutique’ 25th Anniversary

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Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the release of the Beastie Boys‘ classic sophomore LP ‘Paul’s Boutique’. In celebration, we’re pleased to give this great mix put together by WhoSampled’s Chris Read shortly after the death of MCA in 2012 a re-up here on the WhoSampled Mixcloud. The mix takes in Beastie Boys classics from various eras, remixes, acapellas and alternate versions and places them alongside original sample material largely (but not exclusively) from the Paul’s Boutique album. Tracklist, sample credits and streaming link below:
2. Rose Royce – ‘6 O’Clock DJ (Let’s Rock)’ (Sampled in ‘Shake Your Rump’)
3. Rose Royce – ‘Daddy Rich’ (Sampled in ‘33% God’)
9. Jimmy Smith – Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More Babe (Sampled in ‘Professor Booty’)
12. Black Oak Arkansas – ‘Hot and Nasty’ (Sampled in ‘Shadrach’)
13. Ronnie Laws – ‘Tell Me Something Good’ (Sampled in ‘Shake Your Rump’)
15. Donny Hathaway – ‘Magnificent Sanctuary Band’ (Sampled in ‘Johnny Ryall’)
17. David Bromberg – ‘Sharon’ (Sampled in ‘Johnny Ryall’)
21. Grand Funk Railroad – ‘Nothing Is the Same’ (Sampled in ‘Get It Together’ (A.B.A. Remix))
22. Alphonse Mouzon – ‘Funky Snakefoot’ (Sampled in ‘Shake Your Rump’)
25. Jimmy Smith – ‘Root Down (And Get It)’ (Sampled in ‘Root Down’)
28. Sly & the Family Stone – ‘Loose Booty’ (Sampled in ‘Shadrach’)
39. Jeremy Steig – ‘Howlin’ for Judy’ (Sampled in ‘Sure Shot’)
31. Harvey Scales – ‘Dancing Room Only’ (Sampled in ‘Shake Your Rump’)
32. Average White Band – ‘Cut the Cake’ (Sampled in ‘Dis Yourself in ’89 (Just Do It)’)
34. Roger – ‘So Ruff So Tuff’ (Sampled in ‘Hey Ladies’)
35. Curtis Mayfield – ‘Superfly’ (Sampled in ‘Egg Man’)
38. MCA – VMA Acceptance Speech
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