Nice to hear somebody besides Tree rapping over samples with some intensity.
Bad Lucc – Get ‘Em (feat. Problem & Jay Rock)
Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 1)
Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 2)
Kendrick Lamar – The Heart (pt. 3) (feat. Ab-Soul & Jay Rock)
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
When I first heard this track, it actually reminded me of a lot of when I was researching tracks for my rap-songs-that-sample-video-games mix, a lot of that stuff has this kind of caricature of classical music vibe to it, but it’s pretty obvious by the instrumentation of this one that this is no 8-bit sample.
Kendrick Lamar – I Do This (feat. Jay Rock)
So I got curious about where this music came from, and was very pleasantly surprised.
Bill Withers – Don’t You Want to Stay
I think it’s interesting that when Sounwave produced that Kendrick/Jay Rock track, he left the funky loop that comes right after that intro section completely alone and just keeps that intro loop going the whole time. If I’d produced that song I feel like I probably would have done something more like what happens in this Biz Markie version.
Biz Markie – Romeo & Juliet
But maybe I’m just living in the past, it seems to me that more and more rap production has been leaning toward more dramatic and grandiose musical backgrounds than simple, stripped-down funky ones, and while it’s not a direction I would have expected or chosen myself, I do enjoy the newer sound in many cases. It’s cool to see the separation so blatantly expressed here, with the song from the early 90s focusing on the funkier section and the song from the early 2010s focusing on the more classical-sounding section of the same original song. For a little education on this transition, revisit this Mannie Fresh interview, he’s one of the big dudes responsible for it.