Sample This Rza! Now, That’s What I Call Music

This past Tuesday, a great hip-hop mystery was finally solved. Some crafty crate-digger liberated the sample so masterfully looped by The Rza on Raekwon’s classic “Ice Cream,” and, based off of the response on various blogs and Twitter profiles, you would have thought that Jimmy Hoffa’s body had been discovered. Not that I’m complaining; as one of Wu-Tang’s biggest fans, this was a great find.

The original record, Earl Klugh’s “A Time for Love,” is a soft, tranquil acoustic number; once Bob Digi got his brilliant hands on it, though, it morphed into the chamber of macabre chords that we all know and love today.

If you haven’t heard this yet, give it a go. It’s further proof that doubting the genius of Prince Rakeem is a foolish endeavor:

You don’t have to be a producer or musician to appreciate such greatness. After sitting with Mr. Klugh’s lullaby-ish instrumental, I’m now on a mission to single out as many random un-sampled musical compositions as my ears can handle. And since my blog week has been predominantly dipped in out-of-music influences, I figure, “Why stop now?”

I’ve always had a thing for film scores, though a sick hip-hop beat will always hold precedence in my book. In an effort to connect the two while keeping the Raekwon/Earl Klugh revelation in mind, I’ve gone back to a few movie soundtracks (and one from television) that I’ve always felt needed a rap makeover, a chop-and-loop experiment not unlike Rza’s transformation of “A Time for Love.”

Alas, the written chunk of today’s post will be short and sweet; I’ll let the audio do the grunt work. The following five YouTube clips consist of assorted music that I’d personally love to hear sampled by a worthy hip-hop producer. Just Blaze, perhaps, and even Rza. Maybe Black Milk, or Jake One. Whomever, really, as long he (or she—we need more female instrumentalists, for crying out loud), is surgical with a soundboard.

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    I agree with the film scores . The Chronicles of Narnia has had my ear for a bit trying to get something .

    Also their is a piece in “Two mules for sister Sara” with Clint Eastwood that is choppable which i have done . Older movies work better i think because their is more instruments .

    • NotoriousAGC

      the music score for king arthur,da vinci code are nice, to sample from…i actually make beats as my hobby and use classical/film scores and mix em’ up with some drumz and ish u kno….nice to see rza be doin some of the same shit i be doin.

  • Jamal7Mile

    I absolutely loved this post! Although I haven’t made a beat in 10+ years, you and Mike Bigga (pledging allegiance to the grind) gotta brotha reconsidering his auto mechanic gig.

    To answer your last question, a select few tracks from “The Wiz” soundtrack would make great bases for sampled Hip-Hop music. I think Beanie Sigel already used Nipsey Russel’s “If I Could Feel” on one of his albums, but since I’m late on Sigel’s Roc work, I wouldn’t know for sure. The beginning measures of “Ease On Down The Road” needs to get the treatment. Don’t be embarrassed, that’s a Quincy Jones beat! Do that!

    Bob James’ “Angela” – better known as the theme for “Taxi” – needs to get ripped, too. I heard that our visiting residents Souls of Mischief used it on a song about Black folks not being able to catch a cab, but I never heard the actual rap song.

    When I heard the Tales from the Darkside theme, a track from The Chronic comes to mind. It’s the song before “Ain’t Nothin But a G Thang.” I don’t have the CD in front of me but yall know what I’m talking about, right?

    I haven’t heard the theme to Barney Miller in over two decades. But since I still remember most of the notes, that tells you how dope I think the song is. Somebody probably sampled it already, though.

    Finally, if I still made beats I could do something dope with that harmonica on the theme song for “Chapelle’s Show.” No, really!

  • John Cochran

    Great post. I make beats myself and most of these tracks are right up my alley. While some like to use samples that jump right at you, I like the challenge of making something out of a soundbite you would never expect. I absolutely agree with that comment about DJ Paul and Juicy. Thier darker shit from the late 90′s, early 2000′s was sick.

  • D. $cience

    You know, I really appreciated this post, man. I know XXL staff members catch flack at times for posting mainstream sh**, but this post shows me how important the art of sampling is to hip hop history and how classics still can be relevant & kept alive because of ingenious samples. Lots of heads still hate on the hip hop of today, and I can kinda see why, since sampling dirty loops just isn’t enough anymore. Now, the beats are sampled with added instrumentation, or it’s some electronica-dance-club-soft-served-bubble-gum-synth-bullsh**.

    Hip Hop lives through samples! Thanks for this post, Matt!

  • El Tico Loco

    Maybe they need to get a bunch crate diggers to host a beat contest with a song picked out to make a beat with kinda like Iron chef, I would watch it or attend it.

    • Jamal7Mile

      Co-sign! I would too. They already have events and contests where a producer can only use certain equipment (to promote the equipment, of course).

  • OG Matt Herbz

    Oh shit…step out for a moment and look what happens. This is awesome. “Ice Cream” is my favorite Hip Hop song/beat, period. My bad for not knowing who Earl Klugh is, but shit, I got mad chills when I was listening to the YouTube video and they started looping the sample and I could almost put it together…then they sped it up! Whew…

    –OG Matt Herbz–

  • NotoriousAGC

    loved this post, and the beat for “the day the earth stood still”lol NICE, i love music man.i remember being in a fuckin rock band, but i ended up just makin beatz for rappers from da hood in L.A., still tired from remakin the beat from clipses’ “GRINDIN” on my set hahaha

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Cool bloggings.

    Son I been did “Pelham” back in ’94. It’s on a DAT format so if I can convert it I’ll email it to you.

    I have an aunt who does classical music, so I listen to a lot of that music. Mucho samples in that music format.

    @ J7M

    Someone needs to do “You Can’t Win” by MJ from The Wiz.

  • Jamal7Mile

    Absolutely $yk!!

    Ever since I replied to this post, that song “Mean Ol’ Lion” keeps replaying in my head…

    Now you can say whatcha wanna/ but I’m hear to stay
    I’m a mean ol’ lion! [dope trumpets]
    You can go where ya gonna/ but don’t get in my way
    cause I’m a mean ol’ lion!!

    The Blues Brothers is another movie with incredible music. “Sweet Home Chicago” makes me wish I was from Chicago. Even that song they started to play that got them booed at Bob’s Country Bunker was some HOT SHIT! That bassline went:

    do-do-do-do-do DOOM
    do-do-do-do-do DOOM
    do-do-do-do-do DOOM
    do-do-do-do-do DOOM
    [enter brass section]

    Somebody better sample these before I come out of retirement and do it myself, haha!

  • GMD

    The opening music from Tales from the Darkside… sampled by Tech N9ne on Paint a Dark Picture off of Killer Disc 1…

    • Matt Barone

      Good catch, GMD. I had a feeling that somebody must have sampled that, but I couldn’t track down any examples, nor have I heard all of Tech N9ne’s music. Did they flip it well?

  • Dark Man X

    this is what ive been waiting for. Good Article! keep it up

  • oskamadison

    @ Syk and J7M:
    That whole Wiz soundtrack is ill. Quincy Jones is a three-headed monster that cannot be stopped. Also, check out the soundtracks to Roots (the mini series), In The Heat of the Night, Rocky (CNN’s Bloody Money) and my personal favorite, the great Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack. You could pretty much drop a needle anywhere on either side of that joint blindfolded and come up with a banger or five. I’d love to hear what someone could to do Stevie Wonder’s Send One Your Love.

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      Yo cats can’t get past the Roots’ visuals to listen to the soundtrack.

      But I did.

      You score uber points for the Trouble Man namedrop…

      Cats can’t touch “Songs In The Key Of Life”. There is sooooooooo much stuff on that it’s almost blasphemy that dudes haven’t explored that project as of yet…

      @ J7M

      I think some did “Sweet” already…trying to verify that but I think I’m right…

      • oskamadison

        @ $Syk,
        If you were talikn’ about Send One Your Love, it’s not on Songs in the Key of Life, which I agree is that heat. It’s actually on “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants”, one of his more overlooked joints. I think it was supposed to be the soundtrack to a documentary or something. Anyway, there’s joints on there you could touch as well.

        • $ykotic/Don McCaine

          Damn I forgot about “Plants”. Good looking out.

  • oskamadison

    And I’m kickin’ myself dead in the ass ’cause I have that Earl Klugh record, a joint I listened to once, maybe twice then forgot about it. RZA caught me out there before with Ghostface’s 260 back in the day, An Al Green joint that I paid no attention to.

    • DV8

      that Al Green sample was genius

  • EmCDL

    I have no clue how to do all that chopping and sampling from old records, but I’ve always wanted to learn. I’ve heard countless music that I’ve been wanting to dip my hands onto, both of whats on this here blog AND elsewhere.

  • ri067953

    Yo, this ain’t a movie but the opening to the Barney Miller show has to be flipped somehow. It’s funky as hell!!!!


    THe opening 10 to 12 sec of the 1980′s version of Ripleys Believe it or not needs to be ripped. And yeah the Bass line to Barney Miller was that shit.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    And I’m almost sure that the Barney Miller baseline was sampled more than once…

    I wanna hear someone do “The Days Of Our Lives” riff. I already did it but f*** it…

  • ronaldjc

    I almost hate to give this up, but the score to ‘Eve’s Bayou” by Terrence Blanchard is the isht!!!! Send me my $$$.

  • mr sin

    70′s horror films like the shining and the omen have got great soundtracks for sampling, also any blaxploitation movie u can think of…. the mack, coffy, foxy brown, black caesar, cleopatra jones etc etc…

  • Pickle

    What does turning a sample into something unexpected have to do with these run of the mill, all minor key choices?

  • turkey hoagie

    i really wish someone would flip some of danny elfman’s score from pee wee’s big adventure, particularly the dream sequence beat.

  • Theadocious

    Timo Maas sampled the “The Day the Earth Stood Still” song and featured Kelis on it. I bought the album, but didn’t like anything else on it.

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