The Art of Funk Classics Sampled in Rap: Some of My Favorite Original Versions

Here are some of my favorite legendary songs that have been sampled and redone by rappers, who then recreated hits or classics all over again. These songs were already brilliant when first created, equally innovative/unique, and will always sound refreshing. The four videos I chose, in order are: ”Walk on By” Isaac Hayes Version, which was sampled by many including Notorious B.I.G in ”Warning”; Parliament Funkadelic’s ”Swing Down, Sweet Chariot (Let Me Ride), which was sampled by many including Dr.Dre & Snoop Dogg in ”Let Me Ride”; ”Funky Worm” by the Ohio Players, which was sampled by many including M.C Breed in ”Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin” & N.W.A ”Dopeman”, and Taana Gardner’s ”Heartbeat”, which was sampled by many including De La Soul in ”Buddy”.  The words of Parliament Funkadelic from Swing Down Sweet Chariot (Let Me Ride) explains it all, ”….Light Years in time…ahead of our time….”

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Underground to Pop Music: The Art of the Evolution of Music

Manipulating the sound of a record while someone spoke on a microphone was not widely accepted less than 40 years ago. Before the musical art form we call Hip Hop and the method we know as rapping was an internationally recognized fixture in popular music culture, it was a underground innovative movement. It is always exciting and refreshing when a new form of musical style (which eventually is often considered a subgenre) has been introduced & created. Whether it was the origins of punk music with bands like The Kinks and The Ramones  or the “college rock radio” era of alternative music with musicians such as R.E.M & The Smiths, they all have one thing in common. Rebellion. They all rebelled against what was popular and mainstream. Yet, often times in history an underground musical art form became a part of the mainstream popular music culture if it was accepted on a massive level. Case in point: Kurt Cobain was not comfortable with Nirvana’s music being a part of pop music culture (In Bloom song speaks about this). However, that is what “Grunge” music became…chart topping hits that was played continuously on heavily viewed channels such as MTV. Nevertheless, it was their decision to  sign with a major record label, and “bandwagoners” naturally came with this. In fact, there is often a repeated pattern in music with this, which will probably always be. There are many factors such as generation, society/cultural events, technology, and demographics that correlate with an underground “alternative” sound being popularized. The problem is when a new musical style/sound starts off as fresh and different… then is transformed into something that has lost its “edge” and individuality due to exploitation in the music industry. The art of “underground”music becoming popular mainstream music has its pros and cons, all how we perceive it. Either way, music has & always will be an ever progressing art with many different colors. Hundreds of years from now what we listen to today, what we call “rebellious”, “alternative” or “innovative” in comparision to a “pop music” sound will be so interesting to compare with what sounds/styles may be introduced in the future. The evolution of all music is inevitable. 

Verse To Analyze: Lines In Jay-Z’s Moment of Clarity

       Moment of Clarity By Jay Z
“I dumbed down my lyrics for my audience to double my dollars
They criticized me for it, but yet they all yell “holla”
“If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli
Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense
But I did 5 Mil, I ain’t been rhyming like Common since”

If many celebrities, especially popular musicians, can influence people to wear certain designer brands, have suburban kids imitating an image they know nothing about, and influencing little girls to make it a goal to be bad bitches ..then why can’t more use their talent/influence to drastically speak out on what needs attention in this country?  Perhaps, accumulating more wealth is far more important or safer than risking it for a much needed change in our society. Maybe many just don’t care that deep enough. And, perhaps it is also us, the listeners who needs to analyze our mindsets as well.

The Art Of Sarcasm In Songs: Two Examples of Songs With Thought Provoking Lyrics To Analyze

   

Both of these songs have a good message, but the way they say it is in a sarcastic way to mock and make you think. Here are the lyrics, which, is the best way to further understand the art and inspiration behind sarcastic/irony filled songs that are actually positive songs.

Christion Full of Smoke

But let us leave these two young men
To sit and reflect on the fate of the world
For life as we know it my brotha, must go on
And so the hustlers continue to hustle
And the playa’s continue to play

I’m the man today
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
Got a hold on life
I’m takin’ each day by day being strong
Know just where I’m going to

As I get higher and higher
Dreams grow, visions flow by
This is as good as it gets
As I take another hit, suga
I can’t stop, I won’t stop

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

And all the day time just passes by me slowly
But I’m alright, you’ll see
Faces and places catching different cases
True runners it’s glorified

Same situation, nothin’ ever changes
Just being a bona fide hustler
Hustler, baby, from day to night
Business is as good as it gets
As I take another hit, honey
I won’t stop, I won’t stop

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

I’m the man today
Can’t tell me ‘cuz I’m feeling

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

Local H Bound To The Floor
Born to be down
I’ve learned all my lessons before now
Born to be down
I think you’ll get used to it

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

Born to be down
I think that I’ve said this before now
Born to be down
What good is confidence?

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

And you don’t
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you don’t
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you don’t
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you don’t
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t

The Art Of 70’s Funk: A Few Songs That Prove Timeless Music Is Always Generational

 

 

These songs are just a few good examples of how amazing 70s funk music was, is, & will forever be.  The thing is, older people who grew up during this time are not the only ones who enjoy music like this…that is how you know when music is actually timeless and legendary.  It doesn’t matter what era or generation, there are young people in my age group and younger who appreciate & love these classic artists. Good music has no expiration date, is never outdated, old, or whatever. Classic songs like these just sounds better and better as the time goes by. 

Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir: A Song That Stands The Test Of Time

Even though my daddy had been listening to Led Zeppelin and playing them in his car since I was a little girl, I actually started listening to Led Zeppelin when I was 13 years old back in like, 2006.  Matter of fact, one of my first C.D’s was Led Zeppelin’s The Mother Ship Greatest Hits album, which was the album that was created for their last and final performance together. Ever since I heard ”Kashmir”, it has become one of my favorite songs by any artist or group. Kashmir was inspired by an area of Southern Morocco, while driving from Goulimine to Tantan in the Sahara Dessert. Just like many other people all around the world, this song is one of the reasons why I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Every aspect of this song is truly amazing, timeless, and helps define what it means to considered a ‘’classic’’. I could go on and on about the guitar riffs and the playing skills of Jimmy Page. The legendary bridge of this song has always been so mesmerizing to me. Led Zeppelin will be one of my favorite bands no matter what era, and I’m pretty sure generations to come will never forget them.

An Inspiring Outlook On Life : Incubus ”Drive”

I love this song because the lyrics ae very meaningful to me. ‘’Drive’’ has a positive message that encourages trying to be fearless, thinking outside of the box, and having a beautiful outlook on life.  I also love the album title, which is named ”Make Yourself”.  Since music speaks to us on a spiritual level, I think that it is good to listen to music that is motivational and inspiring. No matter what personal battle we go through, I think that it is important to stay positive and understand just how beautiful life really is when you have a positive elevated mindset.

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear

And I can’t help but ask myself how much I let the fear

Take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before

And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal

But lately I’m beginning to find that I

Should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there

With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there

I’ll be there

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive

Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive?

It’s driven me before

And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around

But lately I’m beginning to find that

When I drive myself my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there

With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there

I’ll be there

Would you choose water over wine

Hold the wheel and drive

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there

With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there

I’ll be there

Planet Rock: The Glamorization of Crack/Cocaine In Hip Hop

There is nothing wrong with a rapper discussing selling drugs on a song. People go through different situations, have different views, and have different mindsets. However, there is a difference between speaking about something to describe a whole portrait, and glamourizing it. For an example, The Lost Boyz “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless” is a classic cautionary tale about selling drugs. The song is not trying to influence people in a good way by painting a glamorous portrait. The prime era of the Crack/cocaine time is over, but it is still glamourized and influential to many. In my generation, it seems as if there are still many popular rappers who paint a glamorous portrait about selling drugs like crack/cocaine even when the reality is far from what is imitated. A young boy with no real positive father figure or mentor sees a wealthy rapper glamourizing selling narcotics, and this could affect him in a negative way. He sees a big-time drug dealer with a flashy car and makes it look as if it is the best option to make money. Too many times, we see the ‘’good’’ side of the drug game being rapped about in songs.. Even though there are rappers who try not to depict these images, the popular mainstream rappers are still seen to the masses and the youth are always watching. Selling crack/cocaine and other hardcore drugs are detrimental and destructive to communities. Children have witnessed their mothers overdose on what is often glamourized in some artists songs.  I guess some people don’t really care, but if you’re one of the many people in the world who claim to be think lyrics are just as important as the beat…then shouldn’t you be mindful of the overall portrait music artists are creating in songs?