Monthly Archives: October 2012

THE INGREDIENTS (PART 2)

This next one I had to do early just because I haven’t been able to stop mumbling “bitch don’t kill my vibe” without even noticing it for the past week, and it’s really interesting to hear the source of that track.

Boom Clap Bachelors – Tiden Flyver

Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

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THE INGREDIENTS (PART 1)

As usual, I found out just barely too late that there was a mixtape made of songs sampled in the heavily-rotated-in-my-bedroom good kid m.A.A.d city.  Luckily I found a tracklist, and I’m starting to track down each song on it’s own, which is maybe more fun anyway than just having it all precompiled in a thing I just push “Play” on.  Here’s one of them, probably the most blatantly recognizable one, and also the first song anybody in the general public heard from this incredibly moving album.  I’ll keep posting new ones over the next few days unless it seems tedious, and then I might put a bunch in one post.  Sometimes it’s nice if things take time though.

Twin Sister – Meet the Frownies

Kendrick Lamar – The Recipe (feat. Dr. Dre)

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PROGRESSION

2010

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 1)

2011

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 2)

2012

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 3) (feat. Ab-Soul & Jay Rock)

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RAP JOURNEY #21 – FROM GUCCI MANE TO CURTIS MAYFIELD

If you haven’t picked up Gucci Mane‘s newest tape, “Trap God”, you probably should.  You can get it free from basically anywhere on the internet legitimately for free, or you can pay $9.99 on iTunes, I guess it just depends on how generous you’re feeling?  Or how important it is for you to own the one bonus track on the iTunes version?  I’m not quite sure what the strategy is there.  But putting all that aside, it really is a nice listen.  I feel like I actually hear some moments where Gucci is taking a little influence from Waka Flocka on his hooks, and Flocka himself appears several times on the tape prominently sporting the flow I mentioned back in this post.  The production is really interesting too, there’s considerably less ruckus and harshness in the tones used across the board than what I’ve grown accustomed to hearing from Gucci, and the tape as a whole comes off sounding more like a stream of fluid than a blast of hot sand, which some of his recent efforts have felt like to me (not necessarily in a bad way).

One song in particular caught my attention for purposes of this blog though since it’s got a pretty rich history that’s really worth tracing.  I definitely learned a few things following it.

Gucci Mane – That’s That (feat. Kevin McCall)

The first time I ever heard Jay Rock, another rapper who, like Gucci, isn’t usually found rapping over upbeat major key soul samples, it was on this song that should sound strikingly familiar after hearing “That’s That“.

Jay Rock – All My Life (feat. Lil’ Wayne & Will.I.Am)

While tracing the source of both of these surprising pairings, I came across this much older track from 2Pac‘s one-album group Thug Life that actually uses the same song that “That’s That” and “All My Life” use, but a different section and to a much different effect.

Thug Life – Stay True

So where did it all start?  I don’t think many sample-hunters will be shocked to find that this song springs from the same artist that so many other upbeat hip-hop samples have come from over the decades.

Curtis Mayfield – Just Want To Be With You

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DON’T EVER DISCREDIT WHAT WE DO

In the spirit of posts like these, here’s another great interview of an artist by another artist, rather than by an interviewer or journalist.  These are always the best.

Snoop Dogg interviews the RZA on GGN

And here’s a link to part 1 of The Show (follow related videos for later parts), the documentary that Snoop mentions in the interview that began Snoop and RZA’s personal relationship.  It’s a disarmingly raw, honest snapshot of the 1995 rap world, with a lot of good insight and information.  Definitely as worth watching as the interview above, if not more.

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RAP JOURNEY #20 – FROM METHOD MAN TO PETE ROCK & C.L. SMOOTH

This one takes me all the way back to my first bakery job at Cafe Plaid in Norman, Oklahoma.  Back then, the bakery was in a completely separate building from where the food was actually served, so I got to hang out by myself all morning baking bread and cookies for the inevitable lunch mob, blasting whatever music I wanted through this crappy borrowed boombox someone had left in the bakery years ago.  This was before I had any kind of mp3 player so I was burning CDs of albums and bringing them to work, so a pretty small number of albums got some really heavy rotation in those couple years and there are a few albums that to this day still feel like the soundtrack to those way too early mornings back in 2006/07.  One of those briefly but heavily used discs was the album this Method Man track came from that contains the line that gets this whole journey started.

Method Man – Is It Me?

The line I’m talking about comes right around the 2:00 mark, and I remember it distinctly being one of my favorite lines from the track, even before I knew anything about its history.

My flow’s no holds barred, Holy Jihad
It’s the head nigga in charge, Meth, back on the job
Like back in the days, back when the game was hard
And when they reminisced over Wu, my God

It’s one of those lines that perfectly punctuates the end of a verse and you just barely have enough time to grin and appreciate it before the hook drops back in.  For a while it was just one of the hundreds of memorable lines from rap songs I’d had stored away in my brain, but then Kanye‘s Graduation album came out, and the end of that third verse (around 3:15) made me do a double take.

Kanye West – Can’t Tell Me Nothin’

I never fully accepted the idea that Kanye had borrowed the line from that Method Man track, it just didn’t quite seem like something he’d do.  But I never took the time to explore the issue deeply until yesterday when I heard Common drop the exact same line in this song!

Common – I Want You

Even though Common and Kanye have worked together plenty, it still didn’t feel like the kind of line that Common would have lifted from Kanye after he lifted it from Method Man, I knew there had to be a single source they were all drawing from.  Now that I’ve taken the time to root out the source of this beautiful turn of phrase, I feel foolish that I never took the time before; it’s truly one of the most disarmingly sincere, heartfelt rap songs I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)

Some of you may be familiar with this track from that weird controversy that cropped up this past May.  If you’re lucky, you just know it because of its beauty.

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FRESH AS A MAY FLOWER, FACE LIKE POWER

Ok I’m gonna wrap this series up with my favorite instance of the concept.  This one has the most back and forth, the most emotion, the cleverest lines, it’s funny and serious, it’s got it all.  “Like Me” definitely gives it a run for its money, but I’m not sure it quite dethrones it.  Maybe a couple years of listening will change my mind though, I’d only 2 weeks ago even heard of Plane Jane.  Anyway, here’s this one, listen to every word.

Viktor Vaughn – Let Me Watch (feat. Apani “Nikki” B)

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‘CUZ YOU’RE TOO BUSY THINKIN’ YOU DA SHIT

I can’t thank Tim enough for pointing out a glaring omission in this little miniseries we’ve been working with.  I don’t know how I remembered Gucci Mane/Esther Dean, Trick Daddy/Trina, Jay-Z/Foxy Brown, and even J. Cole/J. Cole while leaving this one out in the cold.  This is a great, great example, also notable its slightly sloppier flip of “Between the Sheets” a full 3 years before “Big Poppa“.

UGK – Cramping My Style (feat. Infinity)

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I AIN’T TOO PROUD TO TELL YA THAT I CRY SOMETIMES ABOUT IT

Keeping up with this week’s theme, this one suffers slightly by not actually having a lady rap the best verse in this song, but it still comes from a female perspective and has so many of the right elements going for it that I can’t exclude it.  It’s also interesting to see a more serious take on the male/female back and forth we’ve been navigating.  This song feels really really real.

J. Cole – Lost Ones

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THAT SUCKA THINK I’M LOYAL

Let me start by saying that I feel the same way about this beat as Weezy.  And the raps are weird too.  But weather the storm with me, if you will, I think this song is actually pretty interesting.

Gucci Mane – I Think I Love Her (feat. Esther Dean)

I’ll challenge anybody to find me a Gucci Mane song where he lets somebody call him a sucka in it.  This one’s definitely a departure for ol’ Gucci.  I guess if Plane Jane and Iamsu! win newest, Jay and Foxy win oldest, and Trick Daddy and Trina win nastiest, then Gucci and Esther win… most bizarre?  Least listenable?  Clearly I’m gettin’ a little thin on this concept now y’all.  Help me out.

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