I love Sample Sunday, because it covers territory I hold near and dear to my hip hop sensibilities. Sampling has been a part of my hip hop DNA since the 80's, and I don't see that notion changing at all, especially since I will be back on my production grind very soon (once I cop the incredible Maschine, manufactured by Native Instruments). Along with my partner in beats and rhymes Awethentic, sampling-based music has been a staple that has provided sonic beds for some of the best in the game, in my opinion. Going back quite a few years, a song that has always stuck with me, both lyrically and sonically, is from a Bay Area crew that brought lyricism to forefront on the West Coast. Truthfully, before this dynamic crew, lyricism took a back seat to gangsterism, not necessarily a bad thing. However, once these young men showed beyond years microphone finesse and maturity, it was only a matter of time before those outside the Bay Area took notice. I know I did! Tajai, Opio, A-Plus, and Phesto formed the lyrically advanced Souls Of Mischief, hailing from Oakland, California.
Their debut opus, 93'til Infinity, is also the title of today's Sample Sunday selection. A dense, atmospheric production, constructed by in-house production wiz Domino, it sounded more East Coast than California dreamin'. From first listen, it was evident that something special was in store with this song. Don't believe me, just take a look and listen.
"Heather", a song from relatively unknown artist Billy Cobham, is a 1974 treat from his Atlantic Records album Crosswinds. Upon listening to "Heather" for the first few minutes, you don't get the impression that it will serve as the backdrop for a dope song, until you reach approximately 2:03 of the very sparse, jazzy production. These are the type of songs that you have to have a keen ear and patience for, because if you only search the very beginning of it, you will miss a gem. Truthfully, I've never heard this over nine minute piece, but it is a gem nevertheless, reminiscent of Bob James creations during the same era. Listening to this song will give me the impetus to listen to other songs by Billy Cobham, and I hopefully will detect more hidden gems within his catalog. This is the type of song that will work perfectly on a breezy Sunday afternoon, house windows open and dinner cooking on the stove. Cobham fits the jazz fusion mold perfectly, having worked with the legendary Miles Davis. He has carved out a relatively successful career by creating percussive undertones with some of the best in the business, both as drummer and bandleader. Cobham has eight studio albums to his credit, and hopefully there is more to come from this ahead of his time visionary. You can visit the official Billy Cobham website at http://www.billycobham.com/.
Spring is almost upon us, and with the changing seasons comes bloom. I envision bloom in everything I do from this point forward, and I am going to apply this positive perspective on hip hop production and writing that will expand horizons, similar to the horizons that stretched during that very creative 1970's period, when musical boundaries almost didn't exist. Sample means portion, but I'm going to give my all! Keep sampling, keep loving, keep listening!