Friday, March 04, 2005


No Diggity, No Doubt

Growing up on hip hop, with immigrant parents who didn't listen to any 50s/60s/70s/80s "American" music, I was first introduced to a grip of great songs and artists because they were sampled in songs I liked.

Today, 70s classics like "Knee Deep" by Funkadelic or "Walk on the Wildside" by Lou Reed or "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield are on my list of songs that every person should know. But the reality is that I first discovered these songs because they were sampled in "Me Myself & I" by De La Soul, "Can I Kick It" by A Tribe Called Quest, or "Egg Man" by the Beastie Boys, respectively.

It probably wasn't until MC Hammer blew up after sampling Rick James' "Superfreak" that I instantly recognized a sample.

Shameful, I know.

Most of the time, I didn't even know another song was being sampled.

Of course, the cycle continues. I cringe anytime somebody doesn't recognize that Puffy is blatantly sampling the hook from Police's "Every Breath You Take" or that E40 and 2Pac are lifting large parts of Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is."

Today, I'm a mildly-quasi-reasonably educated fan of breaks and classic soul (thanks, Soul Sides!). But I'm happy to confess my constant ignorance.

In this spirit, I made three Top 10 lists this morning: (1) a list of big hits that I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know before I heard it used as a sample; (2) a list of songs that I mostly love because I like listening to the famous break or hook that was sampled; and (3) my favorite songs that sample James Brown's "Funky Drummer" (which I didn't realize was being sampled until the mid-1990s -- I thought there was a drum machine that just used this pattern).

Here we go ...

Top 10 Songs I'm Embarrassed To Admit I Didn't Know Before I Heard The Hip Hop Song That Sampled It

  1. "I'm Coming Out" - Diana Ross (used in "Mo Money, Mo Problems" by Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy and Mase)
  2. "It's Your Thing" - Isley Brothers (used in Salt 'n Pepa's "Shake Your Thang" and Kris Kross' "Jump")
  3. "Got To Be Real" - Cheryl Lynn (used in 3rd Bass' "Brooklyn-Queens" and Father MC's "Do 4 U")
  4. "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" - Hall & Oates (used in "Say No Go" by De La Soul)
  5. "Under Pressure" - Queen (used in "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice)
  6. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - The Beatles (used in the Beastie Boys' "Sounds of Science")
  7. "All Night Long" - Mary Jane Girls (used in LL Cool J's "Around The Way Girl" and Big Daddy Kane's "Smooth Operator")
  8. "Stay With Me" - DeBarge (used in "One More Chance (Remix)" by Notorious B.I.G., which itself was sampled by Ashanti's "Foolish")
  9. "Think" - Aretha Franklin (used in "The Gas Face" by 3rd Bass)
  10. "Evil Ways" - Santana (used in Mellow Man Ace's "Mentirosa")
At least I'm man enough to admit it.

Top 10 Songs I Dig Mostly Because I Like The Way It Was Sampled
  1. "Think (About It)" - Lyn Collins (used in "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock)
  2. "Blind Alley" - Emotions (used in countless songs, but most obviously in "Ain't No Half-Steppin" by Big Daddy Kane, "Jiggable Pie" by AMG, and "Dreamlover" by Mariah Carey)
  3. "Open Your Eyes" - Bobby Caldwell (used in "The Light" by Common)
  4. "Be Real Black For Me" - Robert Flack & Donny Hathaway (used in "On My Block" by Scarface feat. 2Pac)
  5. "Canatloupe Island" - Herbie Hancock (used in "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" - US3)
  6. "Apache" - Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band (used in MC Hammer's "Turn This Mutha Out" and Nas' "Made You Look")
  7. ""I Got The ..." - Labi Siffre (used in Eminem's "My Name Is")
  8. "White Horse" - Laid Back (used in Monifah's "Touch It")
  9. "Clean Up Woman" - Betty Wright (used in Mary J. Blige's "Real Love (Remix)")
  10. "When The Levee Breaks" - Led Zeppelin (used in Beastie Boys - "Rhymin' & Stealin'" among others)

Top 10 Songs That Sample "Funky Drummer" by James Brown

  1. "Run's House" - Run D.M.C.
  2. "Waiting for That Day" - George Michael
  3. "Jackin' for Beats" - Ice Cube
  4. "Mama Said Knock You Out" - L.L. Cool J
  5. "Shadrach" - Beastie Boys
  6. "Fuck Tha Police" - NWA
  7. "Bring The Noise" / "Fight The Power" - Public Enemy
  8. "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" - Sinead O'Connor
  9. "Gett Off" - Prince
  10. "We Are The Champions (Remix)" - Queen