DJ Rashad Remembered

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Last year Chicago lost two of its brightest lights; both of whom were legendary record producers, world-renowned DJs, and pioneers of their craft; both Frankie Knuckles and DJ Rashad will be remembered for years to come for their innovation and dedication to pushing forward their respective musical boundaries. Knuckles’ productions were largely original electronic compositions and while Rashad also incorporated synthesised sounds into his signature sound palette, his most memorable and effective work came in the form of frenetic sample manipulation. As the week closes out we remember a year ago to this weekend that we lost DJ Rashad and the incredible impact he had on both the Footwork genre and the wider musical community.

Founding member of the Ghettoteknitianz (which later evolved into the Teklife crew) Rashad has been credited for promoting the Footwork sound from the local dance scenes in Chicago and introducing it to the rest of the world, his musical output was continuing to strengthen from release to release, and having secured some high-profile remixes, as well as touring alongside Chance The Rapper in 2013 things were looking big for Rashad making his passing feel all the more tragic.

We’ve dug through the site and pulled out 5 of Rashad’s most impressive sample collages from over the years and some special tracks that encapsulate his sound:

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Somethin ‘Bout The Things U Do (2014)

Released last year shortly after his death, this release is as good a starting point as any highlighting Rashad’s sonic style. Co-produced by Dance Mania legend DJ Gant-Man this straightforward flip of Chaka Khan‘s ‘I Feel for You’ undergoes an anti-chop & screw and comes out more jubilant and dancefloor friendly than the original

album-1382046947Let U No (2013)

A collaboration with long-time partner DJ Spinn from 2013’s Double Cup LP, this flip of Floetry‘s ‘Say Yes’ showcases his use of snappy percussion (this same overdriven kit can be heard across most of his output), deep sub-bass and 303 programming all coming together seamlessly

Love U Foundjust-a-taste-vol-1 (2011)

Another track from an earlier Rashad release, Just a Taste Vol. 1, this track feels like a perfect legacy to the musician, particularly the moment around 1:30 when the sample opens up and the loops reach a hard-hitting climax

DJ-Rashad-Rollin-EPRollin’ (2013)

One of Rashad’s most impressive flips transforms Jagged Edge‘s neo-soul croon ‘Walked Outta Heaven’ into a dancefloor weapon. Juxtaposed with DJ Spinn’s molly referencing vocals and some brutally hard panning (headphone listeners beware…) this track’s energy sums up the global excitement around Footwork & Juke and the new rhythmic possibilities at this tempo being explored by Rashad and his Teklife crew

just-a-taste-vol-1I’m Gone (2011)

Very difficult to listen to this track nowadays if you were a big fan of either of these artists. The beauty of both this and the original source are undeniable and Rashad’s raw MPC chops and intricate syncopations compliment Gil Scott-Heron‘s incredible lyrics flawlessly

 

Words – Ethan Illingworth (@illersss)

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A Tribe Called Quest ‘People’s Instinctive Travels…’ 25th Anniversary Mixtape mixed by Chris Read

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Today marks the 25th Anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest‘s seminal debut album ‘People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm’. Following in the footsteps of De La Soul‘s genre defining ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ released one year prior, ‘Instinctive Travels’ was notable not only for its honest and in places humorous lyrical content, but also for its eclectic palette of sample material. In an era when James Brown staples were still go to sources for many producers Tribe, like De La before them, ventured into the unknown, drawing on material from the likes of Billy Brooks, Eugene McDaniels and Luther Ingram to create a melting pot of jazz, soul, funk and rock. Together with output from fellow Native Tongues the Jungle Brothers and others, it was evident that these albums were more than mere curios – a movement had been born.

In celebration of the anniversary we team up once again with Wax Poetics to present an exclusive mixtape mixed by WhoSampled‘s Chris Read comprising album cuts, alternate versions, b sides, interview snippets and of course original sample material. Track list and listen link below:

1. A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It? (Extended Boilerhouse Mix) (Extract).
2. A Tribe Called Quest – If The Papes Come (Loop)
3. Chris Read – Theme #3 (Scratchapella)
4. Jimi Hendrix – EXP (sampled in ‘If The Papes Come’)
5. Eugene McDaniels – Jagger The Dagger (sampled in ‘Push It Along’ and others)
6. Ali Shaheed Muhammad interview for Wax Poetics
7. Junior Mance – Thank You Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Agin (sampled in ‘Push It Along’)
8. Grover Washington Junior – Loran’s Dance (sampled in ‘Push It Along’)
9. A Tribe Called Quest – Push It Along
10. A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Why? Version)
11. Carly Simon – Why (Extended Version) (sampled in ‘Bonita Applebum (Why? Version)’)
12. Little Feat – Fool Yourself (sampled in ‘Bonita Applebum (Album Version)’)
13. Isley Brothers – Between The Sheets (sampled in ‘Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)’)
14. A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)
15. RAMP – Daylight (sampled in ‘Bonita Applebum (Album Version)’)
16. A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Album Version)
17. Funkadelic – Nappy Dug Out (sampled in ‘Ham & Eggs’)
18. A Tribe Called Quest – Ham & Eggs
19. Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side (sampled in ‘Can I Kick It?’)
20. A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It? (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)
21. Lonnie Smith – Spinning Wheel (sampled in ‘Can I Kick It?)
22. Chambers Brothers – Funky (sampled in ‘I Left My Wallet in El Segundo’)
23. A Tribe Called Quest – I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
24. A Tribe Called Quest – Footprints
25. Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke (sampled in ‘Footprints’)
26. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet feat Jesse Jackson – Walk Tall (sampled in ‘Footprints)
27. Donald Byrd – Think Twice (sampled in ‘Footprints’)
28. Sly & The Family Stone  – Remember Who You Are (sampled in ‘After Hours’)
29. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘After Hours’
30. Billy Brooks – Forty Days (sampled in ‘Luck of Lucien’)
31. A Tribe Called Quest – Luck of Lucien
32. A Tribe Called Quest – Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts)
33. Earth Wind & Fire – Brazilian Rhyme (Beijo Interlude) (sampled in ‘Mr Muhammad’)
34. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Mr Muhammad’
35. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Description of a Fool’
36. Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Running Away (sampled in ‘Description of a Fool’)
37. Billy Baron and his Smokin Challengers – Communication is Where It’s At (sampled in ‘Public Enemy)
39. A Tribe Called Quest – Public Enemy
40. Reuben Wilson – Inner City Blues (sampled in ‘Youthful Expression’)
41. A Tribe Called Quest – Youthful Expression
42. Slave – Son of Slide (sampled in ‘Go Ahead In The Rain’)
42. A Tribe Called Quest – Go Ahead in the Rain
43. A Tribe Called Quest – Ham & Eggs (Outro)

Listen here or via the widget below:

A Tribe Called Quest 'People's Instinctive Travels' 25th Anniversary Mixtape mixed by Chris Read by Whosampled on Mixcloud

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Explore WhoSampled Aretha Franklin: Infographic

datavisualisatiewhosampledFriend of WhoSampled Suzanne Soulier, has produced a fantastic infographic exploring the influence of Aretha Franklin‘s music on the artists of today. Click on the image above to enlarge and explore the web of connections between Aretha and artists including Mos Def, Kanye West, Nas and many more.

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WhoSampled presents ‘Digging in the Vaults': Vinyl & Digital Pre-Order Now Available

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We are very pleased to announce that 30th March 2015 sees the official release of ‘WhoSampled presents ‘Digging in the Vaults’. Available as 7 track 10″ vinyl or extended 11 track digital album, the release available to pre-order via Bandcamp now!

Release info:

“In Spring 2014, WhoSampled took a group of renowned UK diggers, producers and beatmakers to the vinyl archives of famed library music specialists Imagem, in which resides a complete collection of the highly collectable releases of the Boosey & Hawkes and Cavendish music libraries. Their mission: to excavate rare sample material from which new compositions could be created.

The recordings unearthed at the archive session were made available to 20 up-andcoming producers at ‘Samplethon‘, a unique ‘Hackathon for Music Producers’, at which those producers competed against the clock to create new music based on the archive material. This 2NX release showcases the winning entries produced at the event alongside tracks from the artists who made up the event’s panel of judges and mentors, among them Mark Rae, Mr Thing, Soundsci, Chris Read and My Panda Shall Fly.

Available as both a 10” vinyl EP and digital LP (containing additional tracks), the vinyl release focuses on the more hip-hop orientated tracks from this varied collection.

Artists featured include Soundsci (a group which counts among its members Ninja Tune signings Jonny Cuba and The Herbaliser‘s Ollie Teeba) and BBE’s Chris Read who joins forces with famed Philadelphia record digging aficionado Soulman, recording under his ‘Phill Most Chill‘ moniker. Both deliver brooding vocal tracks, the latter aptly juxtaposing a 70s TV crime series flavoured beat with reflections on America’s current police injustices.

Instrumental tracks come from a pair of UK hip hop legends in the form of former World DMC Champion DJ Mr Thing and seasoned producer Mark Rae (Rae & Christian / Grand Central). Each deliver classic head nod feel alongside infectious instrumental outings from Samplethon winners Danny Drive Thru, Illiterate and Sleepless.

The digital release features a further 4 tracks not available on the vinyl release including a Rhodesy instrumental hip hop cut from Chris Read, intricate sample flips from Jackson Almond and two futuristic interpretations from Soundway and Project Mooncircle’s My Panda Shall Fly, and newcomer Innovance.”

Discover more at www.whosampled.com/samplethon

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Vessel and Inmix Ensemble Perform Live at Tate Britain for Philips x Noisey’s #YNTHT Project

You may recall some months ago we reported the launch of an exciting new collaboration between Philips and Noisey titled ‘You Need to Hear This‘. Encouraging artistic collaboration and innovative use of space, the project pairs musicians and performers with unique locations to deliver one of a kind performances. The latest edition sees Vessel team up with Inmix Ensemble for a live performance at London’s Tate Britain. Filmed exclusively for You Need To Hear This, the following short video captures the collaborative process behind the music and the captivating performance itself:

Discover more about Philips x Noisey ‘You Need to Hear This’ and check out the new Philips Citiscape headphone range here.

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Radiohead – The Bends 20th Anniversary

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Today marks 20 years since the release of Radiohead‘s breakout album ‘The Bends’. Though the band shot to fame with their ‘Creep‘ single in 1992 (which has been frequently covered since its release, at least 36 times on record), it wasn’t until ‘The Bends’ that the band begun to garner critical acclaim and respect from independent music aficionados. A pleasant counter-point to the Britpop movement of the time, ‘The Bends’ occupies a unique place in “classic album” territory – it’s considered by many to be one of the last great straight-up ‘Rock’ records before the genre hit stagnation or its major acts (including Radiohead themselves) pursued a different sonic path.  Here we run down some of the most interesting samples of and covers from this now-classic rock album.

Dan-Le-Sac-Vs-Scroobius-Letter-From-God-T-439933Planet Telex – In hindsight, the epic opening track of ‘The Bends’ gently hinted at Radiohead’s future experimentation with electronics and synthetic textures. The recently disbanded UK hip-hop duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip‘s ‘Letter From God to Man’ utilised the pre-verse chords as the backdrop to Scroobius Pip’s poetic and biting lyrical flow, before mashing up the chorus and main hook with the Amen break to create the track’s glorious jungle-esque final minute. Discussing the sample with the BBC around the time of the release of their debut album the duo said; “We were quite devious and used everyone we knew. We knew Rob da Bank was seeing one of their producers so we made sure he had a copy. Then we got this message saying they’re going to have a listen to it.” (Dan Le Sac) “Because it had taken so long, we’d almost thrown in the towel on it……..It [the response] was brief, like ‘You have band approval for this’, but that was enough for me.” (Scroobius Pip)

ronsonJustMark Ronson (in collaboration with Phantom Planet) provided a chart-friendly horn-filled funk cover of ‘Just’ on his 2007 covers album ‘Version’.  A DJ shadow-era UNKLE sampled a brief snippet of the song’s climax on Intro (optional) – a “hidden” track on certain versions of their debut album ‘Psyence Fiction’ (only available by rewinding the first track on certain CD players). Thom Yorke also appeared as a guest vocalist on the penultimate track of that album – the David Axelrod-sampling ‘Rabbit In Your Headlights’.

The_Bends_SingleThe Bends – The title track has been given a thrash make-over by the metal sub-genre leaders Anthrax and was sampled by Massive Attack towards the end of ‘False Flags‘. Thom Yorke and 3D (Robert Del Naja) are known to be good friends and like-minded collaborators, they famously DJed at the London site of the Occupy movement in late 2011 and more recently have scored the film ‘UK Gold’, a documentary about tax avoidance in the City of London.

mr2606_2009831_45355910309Street Spirit (Fade Out)Joe Budden sampled the famously depressing arpeggiated guitar riff from Street Spirit on mixtape track ‘Never Again’. One of the band’s most successful singles (achieving a #5 placing on the UK chart), ‘Street Spirit’ has been re-done by classical piano cover artist and NPR radio host Christopher O’Reily, who has also provided his own take on other ‘The Bends’ tracks ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Black Star’, ‘Nice Dream’ and ‘Bulletproof… I Wish I Was’. Cringeworthy joke-rock band The Darkness also covered the song on their 2012 record ‘Hot Cakes’.

Words – Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic)

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Steve Aoki Crashes the Smirnoff House Party in New Video!

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Smirnoff together with Steve Aoki have produced a new video for the DJ / producer’s good times single ‘Born to Get Wild’ featuring Will.I.Am. Catchy vocal hooks from the Black Eyed Peas front man meet stadium EDM for a track which has all the hallmarks of a summer anthem. The accompanying visuals see Aoki performing in the up close and personal environment of #SmirnoffHouse, breaking down the barriers so often present between artist and audience to get among the party crowd… and yes, there is cake! Check out the video below to see Steve share his music with the fans, get down to some partying and even a little skateboarding:

#Sponsored

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Top 10 Iconic Drum & Bass / Jungle Breakbeats

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It’s hard to believe that of the many Top 10 lists we’ve produced, it’s taken us this long to produce a list relating specifically to drum & bass, a genre the very foundation of which is the sampled drum break. Here we select what we consider to be 10 iconic breakbeats that have defined various moments in the genre’s evolution from early hardcore to contemporary drum & bass, via jungle, techstep and more:

mr72148_201349_2014594652810. DJ Trace & Pete Parsons – Sniper

The first entry on our list is something of a curio in that it is the only breakbeat  featured here to have originated on a drum & bass record. Often referred to as ‘the Tramen’, a name derived from the name of producer, DJ Trace, and ‘Amen‘, the title of one of the constituent breaks used in its creation. The break first appeared on DJ Trace’s ‘Mutant Revisited‘ in 1996, but it is the clean break in the opening bars of the 1999 release ‘Sniper‘ from which others have primarily sampled it. DJ Trace has divulged in interviews that the break was in fact created by Dom of Dom & Roland but became associated with Trace thanks to his early and frequent use of it. The break itself is constructed from elements of three other popular sources: Alex Reece’s remix of Model 500’s ‘The Flow’, James Brown’s ‘Tighten Up’ and of course The Winston’s ‘Amen, Brother’. The break has become a go to source for drum & bass’s darker, techier mutations, usage in collaborations between Trace and both Technical Itch and Bad Company being good examples.

mr2803_20091122_2159292066079. James Brown – Cold Sweat

The first of two appearances for James Brown on our list (four if you include his productions for Lyn Collins and Bobby Byrd), the lengthy breakbeat section from Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat’ is fairly well hidden at 4 and a half minutes into this 7 minute funk work out. With its rolling high hats, the break lends itself perfectly to the rhythmic textures of late 90s drum & bass. Whilst this period arguably delivered some of the break’s more iconic uses (see Roni Size‘s Bristol anthem ‘Brown Paper Bag‘), the break also appears in memorable jungle sides (Ellis Dee’s ‘Big Up Your Chest (Remix)‘) and cuts from the genre’s formative years (Tom & Jerry’s ‘Let Your Spirit Rise’).

mr6095_201135_642234195668. Blowfly – Sesame Street

Blowfly‘s X-Rated comedy take on Sesame Street’s educational song for kids provides a somewhat unlikely source for the drums behind a catalog of classics. Perhaps the most creative use is Deep Blue‘s anthemic ‘The Helicopter Tune‘ in which the drums back an ever pitch-shifting conga loop to create sound patterns reminiscent of passing helicopter blades. The break also famously appears on M-Beat‘s crossover jungle smash ‘Incredible‘ featuring General Levy and another M-Beat classic in the form of the Foster Sylvers samplingStyle‘.

mr9051_2010323_1810162627777. Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm – Funky Mule

The opening drum break from Ike Turner’s ‘Funky Mule’ differs from many breaks on this list in that it was never particularly heavily used in hip hop. Its life as a sample really begins with early hardcore (see uses in both ‘Menace‘ and ‘Believe‘ by Goldie‘s Rufige Kru and 4 Hero‘s ‘Journey From the Light‘). The break’s fantastically tough drum rolls made it highly suitable to both jungle and the harder wave of drum & bass that dominated the late 90s. Krome & Time‘s jungle tear-out ‘The License‘ sees the break put to good use alongside the Amen break and vocals from jungle favourite Buju Banton, whilst Source Direct‘s ‘Call & Response‘ places the break in altogether darker territory.

mr2848_2009109_124276339506. Kurtis Blow – Do The Do

The popular breakbeat from Kurtis Blow‘s 1981 single ‘Do the Do’ is one of the few frequently sampled drum & bass breaks to have originated from a hip hop record rather than from hip hop’s funk / soul origins or from drum & bass itself. The track also stands somewhat alone in that its popularity was largely limited to the mid 1990s. Famous uses of the break include Adam F‘s Bob James sampling classic ‘Circles‘, LTJ Bukem‘s iconic ‘Horizons‘ and Sound of the Future‘s dancefloor killer ‘The Lighter‘ (notable also for its somewhat uncharacteristic sample of Francis Lai!).

mr36655_2011114_153352727315. James Brown – Funky Drummer

Whilst undoubtedly one of the most iconic breakbeats of all time (sampled close to 1,000 times, largely in hip hop), Funky Drummer’s relevance to the development of drum & bass is more closely aligned with early hardcore than the genre’s more recent output. For classic examples see Egyptian Empire‘s dark and hectic ‘The Horn Track‘ (which combines the break with Amen Brother to great effect) or DJ Red Alert & Mike Slammer‘s similarly hectic, but far bouncier ‘In Effect’.

mr28_2008105_1223245011994. Incredible Bongo Band – Apache

Best known as the B-Boy anthem that defined the sound of hip hop’s DJ architects, including the likes of Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc, ‘Apache’ has also yielded significant influence on the development of drum & bass. With it’s tempo increased to the realms of 150 bpm+, it takes on a more delicate feel than many of the breaks on this list and as such found favour with many producers of the so-called ‘intelligent’ drum & bass of the mid ’90s. For a slightly tougher take on the break, many sampled Young MC’s ‘Know How’ which features a punchy open sample of the break in its closing bars. Characteristic uses include Goldie‘s groundbreaking Inner City Life and Source Direct‘s ‘A Made Up Sound‘ (released on Goldie’s Metalheadz imprint).

mr2848_2010716_11508291279-23. Bobby Byrd – Hot Pants (Bonus Beats)

Occasionally mistaken for ‘Think’ (see #2 below), the Hot Pants break (also produced by James Brown) shares a very similar prominent tambourine line. Whilst the drums are a prominent feature of the original version of the track, the Urban label’s 1987 reissue contains a handy 2.5 minute long ‘Bonus Beats’ track containing just the drums and it is from this version that most will have taken their samples. Much like another of the James Brown productions on this list, Funky Drummer, Hot Pants is arguably more closely associated with hardcore than it is with jungle and more recent drum & bass sub genres. The Prodigy’s crossover smash ‘Charly‘ famously used the break, as did Bukem’s ethereal proto-intelligent masterpiece ‘Music‘.

mr60124_201367_1428359204992. Lyn Collins – Think (About It)

Think’s history as a sample source predictably begins with hip hop, seminal producers of the late 80s such as 45 King, Marley Marl and many others having heavily utilized the break long before hardcore or jungle took hold. One of this iconic James Brown productions’ unique characteristics however is that it contains several distinct break sections rather than just one, including an incredibly useful passage which contains just the break’s distinctive tambourines. As such it’s one of the more versatile breaks on this list and has been used in iconic tracks including ‘Origin Unknown‘s broody Andy C produced 1993 anthem ‘Valley of the Shadows‘, and the defining intelligent-meets-jungle floor filler ‘Burial‘ by Jumping Jack Frost alias Leviticus.

mr146_20081122_21722573771. The Winstons – Amen, Brother

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the genre that we’ve given the The Winstons‘ ‘Amen, Brother’ the number one spot on our list. The undisputed king of the jungle breakbeats (and the 2nd most sampled record of all time), it’s the breakbeat that defined the genre. As with many other breaks on this list, these drums first came to prominence as a sample source in hip hop, gracing numerous tracks in the late 80s from the likes of Salt N Pepa, through to Ultramagnetic MCs. It’s NWA’s use of it that proved one of the most popular of the period and it’s not unlikely that this is where many hardcore / early jungle producers would have first heard it. Amen Brother itself borrows its musical content from a pair of tracks by the Impressions, ‘We’re a Winner’ and ‘Theme from Lillies of the Field (Amen)’, although it’s the open drums played by Gregory C Coleman that appear a minute and half into the track for which it will forever be remembered. Notable examples of the break’s usage include the Shy FX produced crossover jungle smash ‘Original Nuttah’, Ganju Kru‘s jump up anthem ‘Super Sharp Shooter‘ and Bukem’s fledgling intelligent soundscape ‘Demon’s Theme’.

Honorable mentions

The breaks listed above, although featuring on some of drum & bass’s most memorable cuts, really only scratch the surface of the many, many drum samples that give the genre its variety. Popular breaks that didn’t make the cut included James Brown’s ‘Tighten Up’ (the break that provides Photek’s ‘Seven Samurai’ with its crashing high hats), Model 500’s The Flow (Alex Reece Remix) (the first appearance of the drums that backed Reece’s 1995 anthem ‘Pulp Fiction‘) and Supreme Nyborn’s 80s hip hop break ‘Versatile Extension’ (the high hat led break sometimes known as ‘The Sandman’ that characterised many mid 90s intelligent cuts including DJ Trace’s ‘After Hours’). Almost all of the popular breaks utilized in early sample based hip hop have also found their way into drum & bass’s palette, Skull Snaps’ ‘It’s a New Day’, The Commodore’s ‘Assembly Line’ and Dyke & The Blazer’s ‘Let A Woman Be A Woman …‘ to name just 3 obvious examples. There are surely many more examples to be added to WhoSampled, so if you know of a usage of any one of the above not currently listed, please get involved by visiting www.whosampled.com and hitting the ‘Submit‘ link at the top of the page!

Words: Chris Read

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

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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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