Gestalt on the Track

by Ricardo Gutierrez

After the Wu/Underdog post I got to talking to a DJ/Producer friend of mine about what some of the best uses of samples have been. I was especially interested in people who chopped a sample to pieces and made it a new song. It didn't take long going down the list before I remembered THE best use of Rick James' "Superfreak".

Nope, not Hammer. The prize goes to my studio neighbor at Stadium Red, Just Blaze. Really, he flipped the fuck out of that sample for Jay Z's "Kingdom Come". 

I had to hear the song a few times in a row just to figure out, as best I could, the arrangement of it all. Listening to them both back-to-back it makes sense where he got the pieces from. But it seems like there is also some subtle layering of some small chops that add some complexity to the track. Something he nails really well is giving the song a sort of staccato energy that doesn't exist at all on the original. I love how the bass line goes from being the focus on the original, to being the fill. 

As Warner Wolf would say, "Let's go to the videotape!"


And, the Rickster himself to follow. I can't see this video without hearing "You know you can get another couch. What am I gonna do about my legs Charlie Murphy?!?"





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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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