Sampling is a sometimes shunned, yet very creative method, in my humble opinion, when dealing with hip hop music. When done properly, sampling can be both a way to show respect for previous musical endeavors, and a way to reinterpret that same musical venture. On a daily basis, I have floating in my mind a vast arsenal of dusty, forgotten gems from my childhood that need resurrection. These joints will serve as the basis for future creations that will be constructed on my Native Instruments Maschine. I know that it has been a good while since I've blessed my Sample Sunday faithful with consistent installments. The intentions are there, but I've been inundated with task after task that has been preventing me from touching bases within the sampled hip hop realm.
Starting this late night edition, I was at first looking at a joint to commemorate Black Sheep and their 20th anniversary release of the sample-laden classic A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. That album is full of obscure samples that only the most dedicated of crate-diggers will appreciate. However, at 2:08AM, I was led in another direction while listening to an underground favorite Organized Konfusion, a 90's crew comprised of Prince Poetry and Pharoahe Monch. The self-titled album Organized Konfusion was an album ahead of its time from a lyrical standpoint. The two A-list lyricists took the art of lyricism and flow to levels not seen up to that point or since, in my opinion. If you don't know about them as a collective, or on a solo tip, please revisit this 1991 release to get a picture of what I am speaking of.
The third cut on Organized Konfusion, "Walk Into The Sun", is an inspirational joint with a jazzy, atmospheric feel to it, driven by the collage of samples that comprise the song. This gem, created by Organized Konfusion, shows the influence that late producer Paul C. had on this dynamic duo. Paul C., as hip hop lore has it, was one of the first within the hip hop realm to utilize the SP1200 as his sampling device of choice. The SP1200 gave a gritty sound because of its analog-based sampling capabilities. I'm not sure if "Walk Into The Sun" was created by Prince Po and Monch with the SP, but you can hear the dirty, gritty nature of the sampling throughout the song in question. To compliment the witty lyricism, different components were used to give an emotional feel to the song, only enhanced by the soulful singing.
"Green Earrings", by the one and only Steely Dan, is a funky cut from the album The Royal Scam, released in the bicentennial year of 1976. As a kid, music permeated my periphery in East Baltimore, and I was constantly hearing musical creations by this group that was so very original and funky, so dope and soulful. "Green Earrings" is one of those songs that can tell a story without a single word to accompany it. Adding the lyrical musings of Prince Poetry and Pharoahe Monch to the sonics created by Steely Dan, and you have a song that works perfectly when waking up at 7AM, ready, or not so ready, for another day of work. Truth be told, there are other samples that are layered throughout "Walk Into The Sun", such as "Runnin'" by Earth Wind And Fire, "Walking Into Sunshine" by Central Line, and "Action" by Orange Krush. You can clearly hear each of these elements through "Walk Into The Sun". Study those aforementioned artists as well, if you are not up to speed on any or all of them.
Get familiar with the musical catalog of both Organized Konfusion and Steely Dan. Their musical creations will last for eternity, and serve as a testament to experimentation and creativity that you generally don't find in today's musical offerings. Sample Sunday serves as a reminder of the past, so we can move towards the future, all the while staying alert and aware in the present.