Ample Samples; If Ya Don’t Know, Ya Betta Ask Somebody

It’s the summer of 2002 at a major label in midtown NY. The interns are all settled in and learning where the extra staples are and how to forward the phone calls. The work flow is flowin’, the AC is humming and the radio has been pumping the classic rock all day. Suddenly The Doors‘ “Five to One” comes on. The volume is up, the drums are pulsing and all of the heads in our row of cubicles are nodding. “Great tune,” says my co-worker. Without missing a beat (no pun intended) our intern turns to my co-worker and says, “Yo…I didn’t know you like Jay-Z! This song is blazin’!”

Should we laugh? Should we throw something at him? HR probably would have frowned upon both options, so we went with the look of frightened surprise and immediate correction. “This is the Doors, dude! Not Jay-Z.” Now strap in and hold on for this next part, cause then the intern says, “Oh,” with a perplexed gaze and an accepting head nod. “So the Doors play Jay-Z songs?”

Shhhhhh…shhhhh. Don’t get angry. Its easy to flip into music guru mode and go off on a passive aggressive diatribe showing off your vast musical knowledge and belittling the intern, but take the high road my friends. Don’t hate on sample heavy artists and don’t hate on knowledgably light fans. Samples bridge gaps and expose different generations to different styles of music, all the while sharing the same line of reasoning behind what makes the song great. It’s a symbiotic relationship, so let’s educate rather than condescend.

Take for example The Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache.” The drums in that song inspired a laundry list of some of the greatest rappers of all time. Like who? Like how’s this for a list of credentials: 2 Live Crew, Apache, Breeze, Busta Rhymes, Busy Bee, Chubb Rock, Coldcut, Dee Patten, Digital, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Double D & Steinski, Everlast, Faith Evans ft Black Rob, Freddie Foxx, Freestylers, Sound of London, Geto Boys, Goldie, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Hammer, Insane Poetry, J. Majik, Jive All Stars, Kool G Rap, Kool Moe Dee, KRS-One, Leaders of the New School, LL Cool J, Moby, Nas, Run-DMC, Schoolly D, Sugarhill Gang, Tone Loc,West Street Mob, and Young MC, just to name a few.

And from there we can look to see how fellow rapper and producer MF Doom struck a chord with Ghostface Killah on his monster record Fishscale. Sampling MF Doom’s “Fenugreek,” Ghost’s “9 milli bros.” is one of the most banging tracks on the record.

From Dr. Dre and the rest of the NWA crew popping on a Brass Construction record, listening to “The Message” and creating “I Aint Tha 1,” to Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain” helping to put Missy Elliot on the map in Supa Dupa fly fashion, we need to show music fans of today that samples use the momentum of yesteryear to propel their favorite artists of today.

And speaking of launching careers, Pharoah Monch pummeled onto the scene (pun intended this time) with the use of Akira Ifukube’s “Godzilla’s Theme (from “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah”).

A post about samples wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to the one and only Wu Tang Clan (comin at ya). Their samples are vast and the beats are insane, and it’s a really fun moment when you sit and listen to a compilation like Fallin Off The Reel Vol. 1 , hear El Michaels Affair’s “CREAM,” (Yes, that’s right…not only a sample in the song, but as the title as well) and start envisioning RZA sitting and listening to that record, digging out the sample and laying down the beat.

So there you have it. Samples are all around us and have inspired a generation of artists and fans while simultaneously paying homage and breathing new life into the music of some of the greatest and most soulful artists of all time. And if you don’t know those artists, ya betta ask somebody. Take a cue from the Wu, throw an “S” in front of “C.R.E.A.M.” and scream: Sample Cuts Rule Everything Around Me, SCREAM get the money…dolla dolla bill ya’ll.

Teenage Jesus Superstar

(image from Pitchfork‘s photo stream )

This past Friday, nearly three decades after playing their last show as a “group,” seminal No Wave provocateurs Teenage Jesus & The Jerks played 2 packed-to-the-rafters sets at New York’s Knitting Factory. This unlikely “one-night only reunion” occurred in conjunction with the release of the book No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York 1976-1980, a visual chronicle of the short-lived but highly influential movement by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and veteran critical gadfly Byron Coley [Forced Exposure, Spin, The Wire, and many many others]. A “definitive anthology” of the band titled Shut And Bleed is also scheduled to be released later this year via Atavistic Records. In addition to Teenage Jesus’ studio output, which was previously issued by Atavistic as a 12-track, 19-minute collection titled Everything in 1995, it will include previously unissued live recordings, as well as recordings by frontwoman Lydia Lunch’s concurrent project Beirut Slump.

As might be expected, the event drew a fairly impressive assemblage of personalities, from older folk who had seen Teenage Jesus the first time around, to sixteen year old kids who would have been in short pants when the group’s recordings first became somewhat readily available via reissues. The festivities kicked off at the opening of the accompanying gallery exhibit across the street at 73 Leonard St., where original flyers, photographs, magazines, and records were on display, and visitors could bump elbows with various members of bands like The Contortions and The Gynecologists while they perused the photographs. The two authors held court for a while before the oppressive heat and need for nicotine drove most in attendance out into the street prior to the doors being opened.

More after the jump.

Sharon Jones Rules The ‘Roo

Never ones to let a little heat slow them down, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings brought the afternoon funk and soul party to Bonnaroo. After a half hour rain delay, the Dap-Kings hit the Which Stage under a brightly shining sun. Their 90 minute set spanned all three of their albums; from recent favorites, (“100 Days, 100 Nights”), to old cuts, “What Have You Done For Me Lately” and everything in between.

Midway through the set, Sharon launched into her dance explosion with bare feet, making the Dap-Kings laugh when she warned us that she was afraid of getting splinters onstage. Luckily, all the fans had to worry about was getting grass stains on their bare feet while we all had a “bonnaroo” (Cajun slang for “a really good time”).

Pictures after the jump!


Immortal Tech Passin’ Specs On The 3rd World

Immortal Technique
The 3rd World / Viper / BUY

Whoosh! Did you just see little Timmy sprint past at blazing speed, screaming for his mommy? Could’ve been anything that scared him. Anything. But push play on Immortal Technique‘s Third World –an album so vicious and intense that it can’t help but destroy everything in its path, one track at a time– and you have a valid reasoning for Timmy’s b-line.

Politically and socially embittered, Third World addresses everything from prejudice in “Harlem Renaissance” to bottom-up coups in the tribal-sounding title cut, where Tech preaches, “I’m from where they overthrow democratic leaders, not for the people, but for the Wall Street Journal readers.” Strong words from an emcee clearly angry enough to tangle –via intellect or fist– with anyone that may so choose. Amazingly, whether you’re on the same ideological wavelength, or whether you accidentally confuse the word “f*ck” with a common word like “and” (yes, they are used almost the same number of times), Third World has an incredibly infectious quality to it. The album, out on Viper Records, can transform the happiest Hippie into the Incredible Hulk instantly. Try to listen without spitting along with I-T. Impossible.

Stream various tracks here.

Au’s Verbs: Birthed, Delivered, Liberated!

Ay you! Literally. Yeah you, over there–have you been to eMusic lately? We have, and we’re pleased to report that Au‘s sophomore album, Verbs, is available for sale — a full week in advance of its official street date. Comparable to a conservatory-bred Animal Collective, this brainchild of Portland, Oregon’s Luke Wyland is a must have for all you experimental music buyers out there. Earlier this spring, Au played a slew of dates with Blitzen Trapper. But the madness certainly isn’t ending there, folks. Still on tap are a bunch of shows with Deerhoof in the midwest; check below for those dates! And don’t forget to head on over to eMusic and snag Au’s Verbs for yourself, and when you do, know that you’re cooler than the other side of the pillow. Believe the hype. We most certainly do. Dates after the jump.

MP3 : Au – Sleep