LL Cool J Breaks Down ‘Rock The Bells’ for Complex Magnum Opus Series

Veteran Queens MC LL Cool J breaks down the making of all time classic ‘Rock the Bells’ (sampled over 100 times!) and his early career in a mini documentary for Complex‘s ‘Magnum Opus’ series. Producer Rick Rubin, Def Jam’s Russell Simmons and artists of the day including Run DMC‘s Darryl McDaniels share their memories of the record and its influence. Watch the video below:

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Drake ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late': The Samples

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image courtesy of www.ifyouretypingthisitstoolate.com

This week saw the surprise release of Drake‘s latest offering, a 17-track mixtape following on his success of 2013’s Nothing Was The Same and building on his statements set out in 2014 with a sprinkling of huge club singles (‘0 to 100′, ‘Tuesday’, ‘How Bout Now’, etc). Rumours circulated regarding a Drake release due early this year, but it came as a surprise for many that this (on first glance at least) appeared to be a proper LP going straight to iTunes for $12.99. Speculation based on some of the lyrical content here seemed to point to this being connected to the recent Cash Money beef and smacks of an attempt to fulfil his contract early with the label, headed up by Birdman, whom Lil Wayne has recently revealed is behind the delays in his long anticipated Tha Carter V (demanding $51 million in a lawsuit requesting not only his own exit from the label, but to take Drake and Nicki Minaj with him too!).

Rap beefs are an unexpected theme across this tape, Drizzy’s really opened up lyrically here and fires shots at some of his piers who’ve been biting him over the last few years (Tyga, Baby, Kendrick & Diddy). He mentions he’s grown now, and we’re witnessing a new era in his musical career, so thankfully this tape really feels like the perfect lay-up for his full album Views From The 6 supposedly coming later this year…

Light on the features but heavy on the production this tape expands on the spacey, melodic and club-ready sounds developed on Drake’s previous LP by Noah ’40’ Shebib and explores this framework enlisting help from a wide pool of producers with Boi-1da generally taking the reigns. Samples underpin the swirling synths in the form of catchy riffs and vocal effects but rarely take the centerstage lending more of a supportive role to the elaborate drum programming and warm basslines. In some cases whole beats have been recycled and re-produced to fit the aesthetic of the tape (notably; ‘Now & Forever’ by Eric Dingus‘Wednesday Night Interlude’ originally by Ekali)

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Opening with ‘Legend’ produced by OVO affiliate PARTYNEXTDOOR, the sample of Ginuwine’s ‘So Anxious’ is the first thing we’re given while Drake amps up for one of his untouchable hooks (“If I die I’m a legend”) and this same Ginuwine track re-appears a few songs later in 40’s first appearance on ‘Madonna’. Next up is ‘Energy’ produced by Boi-1da & Drake’s new protégé OB O’Brein which samples a well used drum loop from Original Concept’s ‘Knowledge Me’, some vocals from the intro of Eazy-E’s ‘Eazy-Duz-It’, and a soundboy shout from Cutty Ranks in a running theme across the record taking inspirations from Jamaican soundsystem culture. ‘Know Yourself’ produced by Boi-1da, Vinylz & Syk Sense opens with a snippet from OVO Nico’s recent visit to Kingston, Jamaica (here at 3:39) and samples a brilliant glockenspiel piece called ‘Tinted Glass’ by Network coming in when the beat evolves and Drake’s biggest hook of the tape is unleashed (“Running through the 6 with my woes!”).

‘6 God’ produced by Boi-1da & Syk Sense was previously seen late last year in a random batch of three tracks put on the OVO website and contains one of the coolest samples we’ve heard in a long time, looping up an 8-bit string snippet from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest‘Preach’ takes inspiration from Henry Krinkle’s ‘Stay’ (also recently used in Nicki’s ‘Buy a Heart’) and moves into ‘Wednesday Night Interlude’ which is formed on a beat made by Ekali called ‘Unfaith’ which in turn takes vocal snippets from Ciara’s ‘Body Party’. Next up is ‘Used To’ which appeared earlier this year on Lil Wayne’s Sorry 4 The Wait 2 and features a friendly nod to UK Grime artist Skepta and his summer smash ‘That’s Not Me’.

‘6 Man’ features Drake back with 40 and ends with a replay of ‘You Got Me’ by Erykah Badu, and ‘Company’ sees the appearance of a new friend of the OVO camp, Travi$ Scott, whom we’ve previously seen working heavily with Kanye, and coming through with one of the standout full lengths of last year with Days Before Rodeo. Reaching the end of the record we come to ‘Jungle’ which sees 40 flipping up one of the more obscure samples here taking a vocal loop from Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s track ‘6 8′, speaking to Complex recently, Garzón-Montano was pleasantly surprised to hear Drake & 40 worked with his music describing what he was doing when he first caught wind of the sample,”I was in Berlin, on the tour with Lenny Kravitz. It was so strange because I had been listening to “How About Now” and “6 God” a bunch.”

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Words – Ethan Illingworth (@illersss)

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John Manuel (RAMP) interviewed for WhoSampled

For the latest edition of the WhoSampled interview series, we speak with John Manuel, drummer, percussionist and band leader with the group RAMP, a Roy Ayers affiliated project whose debut album ‘Come Into Knowledge’ is widely considered a jazz fusion / rare groove classic. Tracks from the album have been sampled by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Erykah Badu among many others. In this interview John talks about his tenure as drummer for The Spinners, recording at Jimi Hendrix‘s studio in New York, working with Roy Ayers and Edwin Birdsong and his admiration for the new generation of artists who have sampled and reworked his classic recordings.

Listen here or via the widget below:

John Manuel (RAMP) interviewed for WhoSampled by Whosampled on Mixcloud

Interview by Chris Read.

Follow RAMP: Facebook / Twitter

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Aphex Twin’s Unreleased Soundcloud Dump

For a man who seems to have perfected the art of teasing his fanbase, it’s somewhat incredible that it has taken this long for Richard D. James to join Soundcloud. Over the past couple of weeks, Aphex Twin (or should that be “user48736353001″?) has unleashed a treasure trove of previously unreleased material onto the audio cloud streaming service. The mind games began with a comment on a track on the official Aphex Twin soundcloud by user48736353001 which stated “Would like to know the full setup for this track, brilliant music man. I love your early 90’s stuff so much, I was doing stuff in the early 90’s, similar to you but I didn’t know about you when I did it ! Im also 43 years old :) I’m going to be uploading it to soundcloud soon, gotta dust off the old DAT’s & cassettes!“.

Despite continued denials and deliberately misleading statements (one response to a comment from the official PlanetMu account read “thanks, it’s not rich though, wish i was!”) the account’s official status is all but confirmed having been followed by Richard’s official Soundcloud and also tweeted out by the Aphex twitter page. The tracks seem to date from his earliest days as a teenage techno whizzkid right up to around the time of his last release for Warp (2001s ‘Drukqs’) before his self imposed exile from the world of recorded music (with a few notable exceptions, 2005’s Analord series and the pair of EPs released under ‘The Tuss’ moniker in 2007). Here we take a look at some of the many samples unearthed from this mammoth 157-track data dump. No doubt there will be more to come!

joniParking Lot (samples Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell)

In what may be the most uncharacteristic AFX sample ever, Richard borrows the distinctive pre-chorus from Joni Mitchell’s 1970 hit ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. Joni’s angelic voice is laid over rolling machine-hats and an acidic bassline, indicative of the fact that the track most likely originates from the time period stated in the title of his debut record (85-92). This is seemingly confirmed by the description accompanying the track “Recorded off the radio, the sample..i think..this ones going out to damo, RIP mate your very missed. made in 1988-89″

chtlakMake A Baby (samples Where Do Babies Come From? (North Wales) by Harold Williamson)

The style of this track will sound eerily similar to anyone familiar with the two-part ‘Hangable Auto Bulb’ EP, released in 1995 under the AFX moniker, from which this tune was most likely an outtake. ‘Make A Baby’ utilizes a sample from the same spoken word record from which ‘Children Talking‘ and ‘Every Day‘ took their infantile vocal sample.

eazyPump The Shit (samples Ruthless Villain by Eazy-E ft. MC Ren)

One of the many tracks in this unreleased collection that dates from his earliest years as a musician, ‘Pump The Shit’ samples the scripted studio banter between Dr. Dre and Eazy on ‘Ruthless Villain’ and integrates it into a pumping rave track, appropriately accompanied by the cryptic note “Plymouth Warehouse 1991” in the description.

dsotm220 Pink Floyd (samples Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd)

Another out-of-character sample for Richard D. James, on ’20 Pink Floyd’ he borrows various melodic elements from the 5th track on ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. The result is a beautiful ambient breakbeat piece (also samples the drum machine embellished Funky Drummer break from Run-DMC’s ‘Run’s House‘) that was almost certainly made during his teenage years, this is backed up by the description included with the track – “Didn’t have many records to sample back then and the girl who lived next door had a floyd lp, never listened to them then or since, just bagged the sample and made the tune, few different versions of it, been in the atic for all these years”.

mrfdgpvFrequency Transmitter (samples Examples of Microphone, Radio Frequency, Diode, Goniometer and Pscychophone Voice by Konstantin Raudive

Richard issued a challenge to keen-eared listeners in the comments of this track – “anyone who guesses samples wins a prize“. The user Levi Just duly obliged and replied “Hi Richard, the vocal samples used in this track are from side B of Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead by Konstantin Raudive. What do I win?“, Aphex applauded the user and inquired as to how he had found to sample, which Levi Just chalked up to “Good ears, intuition, vast musical knowledge, and detective work.”

uraniumRenalgade Sonar (samples Uranium by Kraftwerk)

The opening droning chord and robotic voice of Kraftwerks ‘Uranium’ is utilised in the opening of another RDJ late 80s/early 90s outtake. ‘Uranium’ has also found itself sampled by New Order and WestBam.

RDJAGirl/Boy Dark Version (remix of Girl/Boy Song)

One of the most unusual and surprising inclusions in this mass of unreleased material is an alternate “dark” version of Girl/Boy song from the ‘Richard D. James’ album. Whilst the original was an emotionally honest major-key hectic Jungle workout, this version remains beat-less and takes unpleasant melodic turns wherever it can, turning one of Aphex Twin’s most heartwarming tracks into one of his most unsettling.

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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The Music of Whiplash

Whiplash – the debut film by writer/director Damien Chazelle released in Europe this past month to rave reviews and overwhelming critical acclaim – centers around a young jazz drumming student, Andrew Nieman (played by Miles Teller) and his volatile relationship with respected teacher and band leader Terrence Fletcher (portrayed by J.K. Simmons). The movie takes place at the fictional New York Shaffer music conservatory (most likely based on the equally prestigious Juilliard music school). Fletcher employs unusual, manipulative and psychologically punishing motivational techniques in a sadistic effort to push Andrew beyond his own limits.

The musical performances in the film are largely based around two key pieces of music.


First recorded in 1936 by Barney Bigard and his Jazzopators, ‘Caravan’ is often credited to Duke Ellington who was a member of the band along with several other players who were part of his Duke Ellington Orchestra. One of the most intense scenes of the film involves Fletcher pushing Andrew and his understudies to play a section of Caravan’s drums at a punishing 400bpm for hours on end. ‘Caravan’ was also performed and recorded by Buddy Rich, who is shown to be Andrew’s idol and main inspiration throughout the film. The well-known standard has also been recorded by other Jazz luminaries such as Thelonious Monk and Enoch Light. Afrika Bambaataa also borrowed the distinctive trombone melody from the original recording on the “Jazz mix” of Jazzy Sensation.


The piece from which the film takes its title is a lesser known, but arguably more virtuoso composition, exemplified by Andrew’s panicked look as he first sets eyes upon the sheet music which starts at a rapid tempo in 7/4 before changing at various points to double time. It was first performed and recorded in 1973 by Don Ellis and his band, which contained the composer Hank Levy and has since been sampled in hip hop on a number of occasions.

Operating on a very limited budget of only $3.3 million  (the only other officially licensed composition is ‘Intoit’ by Stan Getz) most of the music featured or performed in the film was written by composer Justin Hurwitz and Tim Simonec. Their skill in imitating certain jazz styles throughout the film is perfectly demonstrated during Andrew’s date with Nicole (Melissa Benoist), late last year Hurwitz told thecredits.org “…there’s a song that plays when Miles and Nicole (Melissa Benoist) have a date in a pizza parlor. Our budget was too small for a standard there, so I had to fake one, which meant basically I had to write a tune that could sound like it was made in the 30s. At the pizza parlor Miles says, ‘This is Jackie hill, 1932.’ But there is no Jackie Hill.”

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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Top 10 Most Covered Artists

Whilst for some the term ‘cover version’ carries the unwanted association with that inescapable crop of Youtube acoustic guitar ballads, a well executed cover that succeeds in treading the fine line between respect for the original and adding new context can excite and surprise the listener. The most successful covers can even introduce a song or artist to a whole new audience or generation. Here we take a look at the most frequently covered artists listed on WhoSampled:

U2210. U2 (363 Covers)

U2’s 35 year career has established them as one of modern rock music’s most successful acts. Their Brian Eno-produced 1987 album ‘Joshua Tree’ provides the bulk of their most covered tracks, including ‘With or Without You‘ (32 covers), ‘Where the Streets Have No Name‘ (14 covers) and ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For‘ (25 covers). U2 are also no stranger to a cover version themselves, 1988’s ‘Rattle & Hum’ in particular containing a number of covers and tributes to Rock’s greats, including a cover version of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ with an arguable nod to Jimi Hendrix in its presentation (see 3 below).

queen9. Queen (371 Covers)

The song upon which the call and response of stadium rock anthems was built – ‘We Will Rock You‘ (30 covers) – has been covered by artists as varied as Nickelback, Melt-Banana and Snoop Dogg. ‘Another One Bites the Dust‘ (15 covers and also heavily sampled) provided master of the comedy cover version “Wierd Al” Yankovic with one of his earliest hits in the form of ‘Another One Rides the Bus‘.

MJ28. Michael Jackson (391 Covers)

The King of Pop’s back catalog has proven fertile ground for covers, especially his most universally loved record ‘Thriller’. The album’s most successful singles ‘Beat It’ (26 covers), ‘Billie Jean’ (37 covers) and ‘Thriller‘ (19 covers) will with little doubt remain popular cover material for decades to come. Flash in the pan pop-punk group Alient Ant Farm are perhaps better remembered for their chart-topping cover of ‘Smooth Criminal‘ than any material of their own and even Ian Brown has turned his hand to Jackson’s hits with cover versions of both Thriller and Billie Jean.

r2_2008107_944318177597. Marvin Gaye (396 Covers)

No two songs in the history of recorded music are more closely associated with human procreation than ‘Let’s Get It On’ (19 covers) and ‘Sexual Healing’ (21 covers). Both tracks have appropriately been re-produced by acts including Kate Bush, Michael Bolton, Lloyd Chalmers and Maceo Parker. Marvin himself recorded more than 60 covers, another connection between artists on this list being evident in the form of Marvin’s reworking of Michael Jackson’s ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’.

rstones6. The Rolling Stones (438 Covers)

One of the defining songs of the 1960’s, ‘Paint it Black‘ (63 covers) has had it’s winding sitar melody and rolling rhythmic stomp remade by Joe Pass and former UB40 member Ali Campbell amongst others. The cross-genre influence that the Stones’ songwriting has had is evident in the disparate range of musicians that have chosen to pay tribute to their work; Brian Ferry, Alicia Keys, Rage Against the Machine and Britney Spears have all put their own spin on classic Stones material.

fs25. Frank Sinatra (493 Covers)

Fond of a cover or two himself (144 listed) Sinatra’s music has proven to be perennial cover-friendly material, even now, almost 70 years after his first release. Nina Simone, Elvis Presley and Sammy Davis Jr. have all covered My Way (38 covers) – one of his defining tracks.

stevwon4. Stevie Wonder (533 Covers)

Propelled to fame by its instantly recognizable virtuoso clavinet riff  ‘Superstition‘ (32 covers) remains one of Stevie Wonder’s most outstanding and well-known compositions. It found favor as a cover with the likes of The Jackson 5, Sergio Mendes and Quincy Jones. Stevie Wonder’s music has also found favor with the current generation of hip hop and soul artists, DJ Spinna dedicating his ‘Wonderful’ club night to Stevie Wonder’s music and the associated compilations unearthing interesting and unique cover versions of of it. Madlib‘s Yesterday’s New Quintet project produced an album entirely of Stevie cover versions simply titled ‘Stevie’ and Macy Gray celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Stevie’s ‘Talking Book’ LP with a cover version of the complete album.

 dylan3. Bob Dylan  (608 Covers)

The popular view of Bob Dylan as one of the great songwriters of the 20th century is reflected in the extraordinary amount of covers of his work. Jimi Hendrix’s version of  ‘All Along the Watchtower’ (19 covers) occupies a strange place in music history as a cover that superseded the original in terms of popularity and arguably musical prowess. Dylan himself has even acknowledged Hendrix’s version as being superior to his original, in a 1995 interview with a Florida newspaper Dylan said “He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day”

tradfolk2. Traditional Folk (1403 Covers)

“Traditional Folk” is something of a curio on this list –  not an artist as such, but a ‘catch all’ artist name on WhoSampled.com used to record details of historical folk music passed down through generations, for the most part composed before the invention of modern recording technology. These are songs without an agreed-upon origin, devoid of attributable song-writers; melodies, chants and hymns that have sustained throughout centuries. Greensleeves – the tudor-era folk song sometimes thought to have been composed by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn – was given a gorgeous re-interpretation by John Coltrane in 1961. ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep‘, a children’s bedtime prayer that originated sometime in the early 18th century, has strangely enough found it’s opening lines interpolated by several hip-hop artists such as Kid Cudi, Joey Bada$$ and Snoop Dogg. Even Kanye borrowed the opening passage in his recent Paul McCartney collaboration Only One.

thebeatels1. The Beatles (2710 Covers)

As the most iconic rock band of their generation (and maybe ever), it’s no surprise that The Beatles come in at #1 on our list. Multiple other most-covered artists on the list have re-interpreted The Beatles at some point, The Rolling Stones covered ‘I Wanna Be Your Man‘, Michael Jackson’s version of ‘Come Together‘ successfully replicates the original’s distinctive beat and rhythm on a drum machine and Stevie Wonder provided a characteristically soulful take on ‘We Can Work It Out‘. The iconic songwriting has frequently been reinterpreted by funk, soul and jazz artists, in turn providing sample material utilized in hip hop and beyond – that iconic bassline from Gang Starr‘s ‘Dwyck‘ for example was lifted from a cover version of Hey Jude! ‘Yesterday‘ has been covered a staggering 145 times, making it the most covered track on the site.

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)



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Win Tickets to see Edo.G Live at London’s Jazz Cafe


This Monday (16th February), Classic Material presents veteran Boston MC Edo.G live at London’s world famous Jazz Cafe with support from Reks, Termanology & Akrobatik.

We have 5 pairs of tickets to give away. For a chance to win, all you need to do is answer the following question:

“Be a Father To Your Child”, a single from Edo.G’s debut album ‘Life of a Kid In The Ghetto’ is based on a sample of what Jazz Fusion classic? [Clue: The answer can be found on WhoSampled!]

Email your answers to competitions@whosampled.com with ‘Edo.G Competition’ in the subject heading. Entries must be received no later than 5pm (GMT) on 13th February 2015. Winners will be notified by email. Please note winners will be responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from the venue.

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The 57th Annual Grammy Awards – Samples, Covers & Remixes Center Stage

Last night saw the 57th annual Grammy Awards hosted by LL Cool J take place with a ceremony featuring typically extravagant performances from the likes of AC/DC, Beyonce and Pharrell. Even Electric Light Orchestra – whose back catalog is packed with perennially sample-friendly material (see our recent ‘ELO: The Samples’ mixtape for proof) – were invited to perform ‘Evil Woman’ (famously sampled by Daft Punk) and ‘Mr. Blue Sky’. Missing out on an opportunity to perform his version of Blue Sky with ELO, Common appeared for a duet with John Legend, and other collaborations included Kanye, Rihanna and Paul McCartney performing material from their recent ‘FourFiveSeconds’ project. As with previous years, samples, covers and remixes accounted for a number of the musical highlights. Here’s our run down:

IKENDRICKBest Rap Peformance and Best Rap Song: I‘ by Kendrick Lamar

Though not a stellar year for hip-hop releases (other nominees included Drake and Childish Gambino) Kendrick Lamar’s opinion-dividing single ‘I’, released towards the end of last year, was a credible choice to be awarded Best Rap Performance. It was also awarded Best Rap Song (Rap Performance being judged on the vocal performance, Rap Song being measured on song-writing, arrangement, production etc.) for which The Isley Brothers will also be receiving credit based on the recording academy’s guidelines for the award which state “Award to the songwriter(s) of new material; certificate to songwriter(s) of any sampled material”

ssstaywithmeRecord of the Year and Song of the Year: Stay With Me‘ by Sam Smith

Sam Smith swept this year’s Grammys, ‘Stay With Me’ winning both Record and Song of the Year, his album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ winning Best Pop Vocal Album and Smith being awarded Best New Artist. The song has already been covered more than 50 times. Smith’s rise to the top hasn’t been without controversy though. Almost immediately after its release, the chorus of ‘Stay With Me’ was noted as having significant similarity to the top-line melody of Tom Petty’s ‘Won’t Back Down‘ (co-written by ELO’s Jeff Lynne), Petty’s publishing company pursued Smith for compensation and were eventually granted 12.5% of the songwriting royalties. Despite this, a spokesperson for Smith maintains the similarity between the two track was “a complete coincidence”.

happypahrBest Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video: ‘Happy’ by Pharrell 

Pharell’s ‘Happy’ has undoubtedly been the most unavoidable pop song of the past year, blaring out of speakers in coffee shops and fast food restaurants all across the world and picked up the awards for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video. Despite being only a year old the track already has 20 covers and has been sampled 11 times by the likes of DJ Earworm and Kaytranada. It has also been given a speedy reworking by Makoto and even a ‘sad’ re-imagining by Woodkid.

SYROBest Electronic Album: ‘Syro’ by Aphex Twin

‘Syro’ – Aphex Twin’s triumphant return to the world of recorded music – picked up the award for best electronic album. The award was one of many that was presented during the pre-telecast ceremony in the afternoon before the main show. Unfortunate perhaps that Richard D. James was not given the opportunity to give an acceptance speech on live television, although Kanye, in almost predictable style didn’t leave us without a memorable on-stage moment. Classic breaks that appear throughout the record include Hot Pants, Think (About It) and Amen, Brother.

dpBest Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella: Daft Punk‘ by Pentatonix

A capella group Pentatonix (the majority of whose catalogue consists of covers and medleys) took home the award for Best Arrangement. Their self-explanatory cover medley ‘Daft Punk’ reworks six of the French Duo’s biggest hits; ‘One More Time’, ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’, ‘Technologic’, ‘Television Rules the Nation’, ‘Digital Love’ and ‘Get Lucky’.

dilBest R&B Performance and Best R&B Song: Drunk In Love by Beyonce ft. Jay Z

Another track to take home both the “Performance” and “Song” awards in its genre was ‘Drunk In Love’. The slightly confusing cut off dates for eligibility for the awards (this year’s being Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014) mean that a 2013 track such as ‘Drunk In Love’ can receive awards at the 2015 edition of the Grammys. J. Cole interpolated Jay-Z’s part in G.O.M.D. from last year’s ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’. Lil WayneDiplo and Future have also taken license with various parts of the track.

cleanbandBest Dance Recording: ‘Rather Be‘ by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne

Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ was deemed to be the Best Dance Recording of the past year, surprisingly beating out slightly more established names like Basement Jaxx and Disclosure. The track has already been covered by Best Arrangement-winners Pentatonix (among 13 others) and has also been given an 808-heavy reworking by DJ Mustard.

trilogyBest Jazz Instrumental: ‘Trilogy’ by Chick Corea Trio

Legendary Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea released a live album with his band toward the end of 2013 and was rewarded with his 21st and 22nd (also for best Jazz solo on the rendition of his own composition ‘Fingerprints’) Grammy awards last night. Corea’s virtuoso ability on piano and keys (quite often on a Rhodes) has been sampled by modern-day musical icons such as J Dilla, Madlib and Flying Lotus.

mzndBest Comedy Album: ‘Mandatory Fun’ by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Wierd Al picked up the Best Comedy album award (his 3rd to date) for last year’s ‘Mandatory Fun’, which included skilfully humorous parodies of ‘Blurred Lines’ (Robin Thicke), ‘Royals‘ (Lorde) and the Best Pop Peformance-winning ‘Happy‘ (Pharrell). The albums customary Polka medley ‘NOW That’s What I Call Polka!’ managed to cram hooks from ‘Get Lucky’, ‘Call Me Maybe‘, ‘Wrecking Ball‘ and ‘Gangnam Style‘ into just over 4 minutes.

lgtbc2cBest Traditional Vocal Album: ‘Cheek to Cheek’ by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Legendary pop-jazz vocalist Tony Bennett is said to have met Lady Gaga backstage after one of her performances back in 2011 and began recording a collaborative album of covers not long afterwards. Comprised entirely of cover versions, tracks featured include ‘Nature Boy‘ (Nat King Cole), ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love‘ (Adelaide Hall) and the title track, ‘Cheek to Cheek‘, originally performed by Fred Astaire for the 1935 movie ‘Top Hat’.

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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Top 10 Most Sampled Reggae Tracks


Of the many Top 10 lists we’ve featured here over the years, Reggae has been somewhat neglected. Certainly, it’s not a genre as frequently associated with sampling culture as say Hip Hop or indeed many forms of dance music, but the practice of recycling musical themes is central to Reggae and in keeping with that tradition, Reggae has yielded a great deal of influence on other genres. The relationship between Reggae and Dub is key to the development of what is now termed ‘the remix’ and the practice of distributing riddim tracks to multiple vocalists to create versions based on a common theme has also created a unique set of musical connections. Reggae (like almost every style of contemporary music) has been sampled in Hip Hop prompting some interesting fusions, but Reggae arguably stands alone in the influence it has had on dance music sub genres. Drum and Bass, Jungle, Dubstep and arguably even Grime and some strands of Garage all owe a great deal to the Reggae bassline and the soundsystem culture to which it is inextricably connected. On what would have been Bob Marley‘s 70th birthday (also the anniversary of dub legend King Tubby’s death), we explore the Top 10 most sampled records of all time:

r115_2011620_11401822691610. Mikey Dread – Operator’s Choice (sampled 33 times)

Taken from the ‘African Anthem’ LP, ‘Operator’s Choice’ is a reverb drenched Dub littered with shout outs and drops advertising Mikey Dread aka Mikey Campbell’s “Mikey Dread Show”. Sandwiched between segments of vocal drops and sound effects including tolling bells and chilling screams, the track became a popular source for DJ scratch samples, used to great effect by the likes of Public Enemy and BDP affiliate D-Nice among many others.

r9591_2010512_21622283579. Ansel Collins – Stalag 17 (sampled 40 times)

The first classic riddim track to appear in our list, ‘Stalag 17′, hails from what what many consider to be Reggae and Dub’s golden period of the early 1970s. Samples in this case come largely in the form of the many Reggae artists to have voiced or reinterpreted the riddim, among them countless classics including Super Beagle’s ‘Dust a Sound Bwoy‘, Tenor Saw’s ‘Ring the Alarm’, and perhaps most famously Sister Nancy’s ‘Bam Bam’.

r2929_2011627_1242218731688. Cutty Ranks – A Who Seh Me Dun (sampled 40 times)

Itself based on the riddim track from Chaka Demus & Pliers early 90s classic ‘Murder She Wrote’, it is disproportionately the vocals from the intro of Cutty Ranks’ track that are sampled rather than the musical content. The iconic “Six Million Ways to Die” phrase was famously used by Snoop Dogg in the intro to Serial Killa from his seminal debut LP ‘Doggy Style’ and gave the name and central hook to Funkmaster Flex‘s 1993 tunnel banger ‘Six Million Ways to Die’.

mr1491_20091230_235729154817. Sound Dimension – Real Rock (sampled 42 times)

The second classic riddim track to appear on our list, this 1967 Studio One anthem has been replayed, reworked and voiced by a who’s who of Reggae’s biggest names including Barrington Levy (more than once) and a 10 year old Beenie Man among countless others.

mr77_2008112_2219368418416. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie (sampled 45 times)

Musical Youth are the first act on this list to be based outside Reggae’s cultural birthplace, hailing from Birmingham UK. It’s also the first and perhaps only track on the list that could accurately be described as a pop hit, hitting the number one spot across the globe on release in 1982. The track is itself a fairly literal cover of The Mighty Diamonds’ ‘Pass The Koutchie’, replacing the weed smoking motif of the original with references to a ‘Dutchie’ or Dutch cooking pot. The track also borrows vocals from U Brown’s ‘Gimme The Music’. The catchy hook of this crossover cut has unsurprisingly been appropriated heavily in commercial Hip Hop, in some cases reintroducing the herbal theme of The Mighty Diamonds’ original version (see Missy Elliott’s ‘Pass The Blunt’ for example).

r115_2011620_1140182269165. Mikey Dread – Comic Strip (sampled 46 times)

Another jingle-laden dub from Mikey Dread’s ‘African Anthem’ LP fills our number 5 spot. This cut contains the famous ‘Brand new, good for you’ and ‘You make me feel so good’ vocal samples, the latter perhaps most famously used in Coldcut‘s cut and paste masterpiece of a remix of  Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid in Full’.

mr416_2009717_192544879914. Wayne Smith – Under Me Sleng Teng (sampled 54 times)

An anthem of the 1980s digital riddim revolution, the Sleng Teng riddim and vocal has seen more varied appropriation than any other track on the list so far, having been sampled in SL2‘s early 90s crossover rave classic ‘Way in My Brain’, reworked by Barrington Levy for the equally classic, but more traditional sounding rendition ‘Under Mi Sensi’, and even sampled by 2 Live Crew in an X-rated Hip Hop rework from the group’s controversial 1989 LP ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’ for the unimaginatively titled ‘Reggae Joint’.

mr618_2009326_14375792403. Sister Nancy – Bam Bam (sampled 57 times)

Based on the Stalag 17 riddim (see #9 above), and borrowing vocals from the Maytals track of the same name, Sister Nancy’s Bam Bam is arguably the best known of the Stalag vocal cuts. Themes from the track have cropped up in many Reggae cuts over the years and it formed a popular sample source in early 90s hip hop including usage on classics such Main Source’s ‘Just Hangin’ Out’ and Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s ‘The Basement’.

r115_2011620_1140182269162. Mikey Dread – Saturday Night Style (sampled 64 times)

The third appearance for Mikey Dread in our Top 10 continues much in the theme of the previous two mentioned here. Based largely on Rod Taylor’s ‘Behold Him’, the track is book-ended by a pair of familiar vocal samples including the famous “Brothers and Sisters goodnight, I hope you’re feeling alright” and “Oh my gosh, the music just turns me on”, the latter also famously used in Coldcut’s remix of  Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid in Full’ (see #5 above).

mr1135_2009719_223792200221. Dave & Ansel Collins – Double Barrel (sampled 75 times)

Hip Hop is responsible for landing Dave & Ansel Collins 1971 classic at the top of this list, the opening words “I … am the magnificent” having been adopted for some of hip hop’s braggier classics over more than 35 years. The track was particularly heavily sampled in 80s hip hop, Special Ed‘s aptly titled ‘I’m the Magnificent’ from 1989 being a classic example and the iconic phrase continues to be sampled on a regular basis through to the present day.

Words: Chris Read

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Mazda Rebels Film Series Celebrates Today’s Innovators

‘Mazda Rebels’ is a series of short films profiling inspirational engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world, providing an insightful look into the lives and work of these individuals and their attitudes toward life. The series offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at how new innovations in technology come to life with a focus on advancements most relevant to various aspects modern life.

The latest episode of the ‘Mazda Rebels’ series explores the story of wetsuit designer Hamish Jolly from Perth, Australia and the rationale behind his innovative ‘shark deterrent wetsuit’. Centered on the belief that “nature is the best designer there is”, the wetsuit, marked with bold striped patterns (an image which signifies danger in nature) is designed to assist surfers in differentiating themselves in the water from animals such as seals, to which sharks are attracted.

Watch the film here.

In support of the series, Mazda are offering you the chance to win a Shark Diving trip for two in Mallorca, Spain, where you can witness the sharks first hand (wearing of course one of Hamish’s innovative shark repellant suits!).

Entry details can be found here.

Discover more about the Mazda Rebels series at www.mazdarebels.com


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