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Who Flipped It Better?

Who Flipped It Better?: The Lox vs. Curren$y

Happy Holidays KN readers and welcome to another installation of Who Flipped It Better! This week, I’m diving in to examine two modern flips of Stanley Clarke’s “Yesterday Princess,” from his 1974 self-titled LP. The two tracks up for inspection: The LOX – “I Wanna Thank You,” produced by Nashiem Myrick and Curren$y’s “Job” produced by DJ Mr. Rogers. Stanley Clarke’s original is a bass driven cut that induces a meditative state upon the listener. Sonically, it sounds deep and spacious without many different instrumental elements contributing to the song. And the sounds sort of come and go playing into the background and complimenting the hypnotic experience the lead bass creates. This bass-line is one of the illest I’ve heard and I’m honestly surprised the song hasn’t been flipped by more reputable producers (maybe a clearance issue) for more prominent tracks. Released in 1998, The LOX’s debut, Money, Power & Respect, was a super successful album laced with strong crossover appeal and the help of continued support from the streets. I don’t particularly like this album because of its lack of grime but it does rank amongst the better Bad Boy records from that era. “I Wanna Thank You” is a very pretty song and the addition of Kelly Price on the hook only adds to the beauty. Although the instrumental has a heavy R&B vibe to it, Styles, Sheik and Kiss sound on point as always reflecting and giving thanks for their trials and tribulations. The Hitmen producer, Nashiem ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: Heavy D vs. Pimp C

Greetings KN readers! This segment of Who Flipped Better dives into the sampling of Patrice Rushen’s track, “Givin’ It Up Is Givin’ Up” from her 1979 album Pizzazz. The two tracks that we’ll look at hold the memory of two unique and celebrated artists: Heavy D and Pimp C.  We’ll examine Heavy D’s track  “Waterbed Hev” from his 1997 album of the same name and Pimp C’s “I’sa Playa” off the 2005 LP Sweet James Jones Stories. Patrice Rushen’s original has been sampled numerous times by artists such as De La Soul, Gravediggaz, and The Coup amongst others because it is a deep and full-bodied song and like much of the popular music from that era, it falls somewhere in the realm of the funk/soul and disco realm. Producer Daven “Prestige” Vanderpool sped up the original sample for “Waterbed Hev” and filtered out some low end taking away from the fullness but leaving space for guest vocalist Vinia Mojica’s opulent voice to shine. The drum pattern is in classic Hip Hop form utilizing a simple and smacking boom-bap beat that allows Hev to flow shea-butter smooth as he confesses his partially disguised attraction towards a certain uptown female. One of the reasons that I dig this beat is its simplicity. Prestige sampled the original somewhat subtly and in a pretty straightforward way. Rather than restructuring the original, he used only a couple chops and short loops along with some of his own musical additions to make up the melodic elements. ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: Kanye West “Drive Slow” vs. Tupac Shakur “Shorty Wanna Be A Thug”

For this installment of Who Flipped it Better, I’ll be diving into the re-creation of jazzman Hank Crawford’s 1973 release, “Wildflower.” The flips that I’m going to examine come in the form of two widely popular tracks stemming from artist’s that have been regarded as some of the most talented individuals that we’ve heard. From Tupac Shakur’s 9x platinum album All Eyez On Me, he and producer Johnny J tackled the Hank Crawford sample for the track, “Shorty Wanna Be A Thug.” While ten years later, the windy city kid, Kanye West, took his own swing at “Wildflower,” releasing “Drive Slow” featuring GLC and Paul Wall, courtesy of Kanye’s album, Late Registration. Kanye’s flip of “Wildflower” is not mind blowing by any means and it is instantly recognizable had one been exposed to Crawford’s original prior to hearing “Drive Slow.” And what Mr. West did here was create a hypnotic feel, lightly speeding up and looping the melodic intro of the original on top of a jazzy down-tempo drum loop, spicing it up by placing rough chops of Crawford’s stellar saxophone throughout, giving the instrumental a kind of organic, live feeling when they hit. The deep bass-line is simple, but sonically matches very well, providing a certain syrupy thickness to the rest of the elements in the beat. I enjoyed the creativity in adding the drum break (which I couldn’t find out if he created or sampled) transition and background vocals which both fit perfectly and made things sound that ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better: Action Bronson vs. Stalley

Greetings KN.com readers! It’s been a minute but I’m back with a new installment of Who Flipped It Better. The good man Jeremiah laced me with the idea to ponder on the use of Aaron Neville’s “Hercules,” for two songs from newer emcees, Action Bronson’s “Steve Wynn” and Stalley’s “Hercules.” Produced by Party Supplies, “Steve Wynn” emphasizes the bass-line from “Hercules,” while the hook is a dope vocal from the original that begins with the words, “Jungle rules, can’t be no fool.” They did not flip the sample into anything completely new but they did do a great job of expanding the sound making the song exciting and vibrant. The forceful bass gives Bronson the perfect foundation to rip away at the track in a funky manner. The kicks drums are subtle while the snare and open hats drive the drum loop but what I found coolest was their use of the toms and lighter kicks, keeping the track on a live level. The drums don’t necessarily bang, but they do fill the song out in a way that allows it to keep its original flavor. Bronsolini eats this track up in classic Hip Hop fashion by talking shit in his own unique way and his voice sounds damn near taylor-made for the beat, which is probably why they did the whole Blue Chips project together. Bronson comes out of the gates, “Twisting joints like a contortionist” and claiming he’s been, “Wildin’ since the rabbi snipped it,” which are just ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: Zion I vs. Da Wastlandz

Yo what’s up KN readers! This week, we are comparing and contrasting the flip of the 1982 song, “Old and Wise” by The Alan Parsons Project for the tracks, “Roots” by Da Wastlandz and Zion I’s, “Birds Eye View.” Released in 2005 on Zion I’s True and Livin’ album, production credits for “Birds Eye View” go to the beatsmith of the duo Amp Live.  Unfortunately, after an extensive amount of cyber digging, I was unable to find who provided the instrumental for Da Wastlandz “Roots,” or much about the group in general. But I did come across the credited producers off the compilation album the song is on from, Next Up: Rap’s New Generation, released in 2000. To begin things, I want to comment on the lyrical content in both of these songs. Conceptually they are different, with “Roots” touching on the economic oppression Americans deal with specifically in relation to the African-American experience, while “Birds Eye View” focuses on the emcees interpersonal relationship with Hip Hop music. The two instrumentals are similar in terms of the chops used and how the sample was flipped but the beats sonically sound entirely different. “Roots” is much more heavy on the low end giving the sample a nice dusty crate sound, but it plays to the background of the track while “Birds Eye View” presents the sample in an alive, more upfront fashion giving the beat a brighter feel. However, I love the drums on both of the tracks. They each have ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: RZA “Throw Your Flag Up” vs. Raekwon “Molasses”

This installation of Who Flipped It Better features two tracks from Wu-Tang members RZA and Raekwon. Each song samples Ann Peebles, “Troubles, Heartaches, & Sadness” from her 1972 album, Straight From the Heart. The self-produced, “Throw Your Flag Up,” from RZA’s, Digital Bullet album features Wu affiliates and Black Knights emcees, Crisis and Monk. While it’s competitor, Raekwon’s “Molasses,” from his 2011 album Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, was produced by Chicago native, Xtreme and features verses from Ghostface Killah and bawse Rick Ross. Each producer flipped the same portion of the original, which is noticeable in both songs but the flips are still used uniquely. It should be noted that RZA had already sampled this song back in 95’ for GZA’s classic “Shadowboxin” from the Liquid Swords LP but he took a different approach to that flip, which is why I chose not to examine that track. RZA’s “Throw Your Flag Up” instrumental is slower and more melodic than Xtreme’s allowing the emcees to float alongside, dictating the speed of the song. Just like “Molasses,” the sample is the main component to the track but as it plays, the vocals take the focal position of the song. RZA added some dope chops and stutters, but besides that, the beat sounds like one loop sampled a gang of times without much alteration. The drum layer is bare, highlighted by the cracking snare, but the kicks don’t hit as hard as I’d like them leaving the track sounding light, except for the bass ... Read More »

Who Did It Better?: Blu & Exile vs. Mac Dre & RobLo

This installment of Who Spit/Flipped It Better is going to be more along the lines of a Who Did it Better as opposed to the normal format. I want to look at the use of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” in the songs: “My World Is…” by Blu and Exile and Mac Dre’s “Bonus Track” produced by RobLo. The two main factors that differentiate these songs off top are: Exile used not only the Joni Mitchell sample but also used three other songs on his track. Mac Dre’s track feature’s two other emcees holding down verses on it. The reason that I wanted to look at these songs is because both producers decided to use a vocal sample from the Joni Mitchell track as the focal point of the songs. So it only makes sense to look at what these artists created around that one sample to compare the tracks as a whole and not solely the flip. RobLo composed a very simple instrumental for “Bonus Track” on Mac Dre’s Genie of The Lamp album. He emphasized Joni Mitchell’s strong vocals adding nothing else besides a nice full drum layer along with playing some alternate chops from the sample. He flipped it in a way that allowed him to hold the ambiance of the piano chord that sustained without being able to hear it. It’s interesting because when you listen closely to this instrumental, it’s sounds complete, but I’ve been listening to this song for many moons and when I think about ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: J Dilla: The Look of Love

Yo KN readers! In honor of February being the late great J Dilla month, today’s installment of Who Flipped It Better will examine one of my favorite Jay Dee produced tracks from his expansive catalogue from Slum Village’s classic Fan-Tas-Tic Vol.1. “The Look Of Love” samples Barney Kessel’s great jazz guitar cut of the same title. So rather than compare Jay Dee’s work against another producer, I am going to eloquently translate Dilla’s creative process into my own words. This instrumental is not one of J Dilla’s most interesting works technically speaking, but its brilliance lies within the simplicity of it. In this case, he chose to loop a subtle part of Kessel’s song, raising its pitch and increasing the tempo, giving the loop a nice mellow groove. The original is full of sample-able portions but Jay Dee’s uncanny ear for melodies found the best part and knew just what to do with it. Rather than using quick chops throughout the song like many of his beats, he chose to lightly chop up the one section he found from which he created his own loop. “The Look of Love’s” drum kit and pattern come in typical J Dilla fashion, complete with dusty pulsating kicks and percussion. The use of percs is minimal inside the beat but the role that they play is vital. Dilla added what sounds like an 8th note delay and swing to the shakers, carrying the beat with their rhythmic presence. His expressive drums add the perfect ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: 9th Wonder vs. Slimkat78

Happy New Year to our readers and welcome to this year’s first installment of KN’s, Who Flipped It Better. Beginning with the sample of choice for the entry, “Let Me Ride,” we’re looking at an impeccably soulful song courtesy of 1970’s Chi-Sound Records band, Windy City. This song was flipped to create the two instrumentals in today’s match-up, comparing Slimkat78’s production on Diamond District’s “Off The Late Night” from their stellar LP In The Ruff against 9th Wonder’s beat for “Let Me Ride” from Actual Proof’s album The Talented Tenth. Each producer emphasized vocal chops from the sample throughout the verses, which helped maintain the laidback soul vibe of the original, although Slimkat’s78’s manipulation of the voices sounds downright sexy. He chose to draw out the vocal loops and chops to the point they almost sound like background singers creating an incredibly smooth track. 9th Wonder uses his signature choppy, pitch adjusted techniques on the vocals and softly placed the more harmonic loops in the background, omitting an airy ambient sound from their presence. Wonder chose to speed up the sample giving “Let Me Ride” a much different feel than the snail-paced original and the 89 BPM  “Off The Late Night.” Slimkat78’s ability to uphold the essence of the original while still completely flipping it was a nice addition. His beat has a very sophisticated sound to it that I’d consider the track more of an instrumental than a “beat.” The main component of 9th’s beat is the string loop, ... Read More »

Who Flipped It Better?: Big K.R.I.T. vs. Black Rob

Ayers’ smooth cut “Sensitize,” courtesy of his 1974 album, Change Up the Groove, created the foundation for this week’s battle of Who Flipped It Better. In this edition, we match up Mississippi rapper/producer Big K.R.I.T.’s, “Made A Lot” from his self-produced mixtape Return of 4eva vs. Black Rob’s “Life Story,” the title track off Rob’s Bad Boy Records debut of the same name. Let me start by saying that although these records utilize the same sample and in a very similar way, they are completely different songs in terms of everything else. K.R.I.T. conjured up a dusty instrumental that doesn’t contain many intricacies or changes but upholds a raw, traditional style that allows his flawless drawl to take over the track giving it that undeniable southern flavor. From the Ayers song, he chose to loop a melodic vocal part backed by what sounds like strings and a bass guitar. The loop carries on throughout the track working as its main component. 808 and Tom drums with a steady side-stick make up the lazy drumbeat that I’m sure creates booming kicks on a larger system. My qualm with this beat is that it feels as if it didn’t take long for K.R.I.T. to make and actually sounds like it was composed in a bedroom somewhere in Mississippi’s backwoods. It’s a dope track that happens to be very raw and sonically not well put together. “Made A lot” sounds exactly like what it is…. a good mixtape filler, especially in comparisons to ... Read More »

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