The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email email@example.com.
Note: Last week, That Purple Bastard and D-Risha released a Houstoncentric track called "Ebonics." And then this interview happened.
This Week's Rapper: That Purple Bastard
This Week's Subject: People that aren't from Houston that have sampled Houston rap.
Ask A Rapper: So, we figured since you all have this inside baseball track that you are pushing, and since everyone made a great big fuss about Drake sampling E.S.G. twice on Take Care, and since you're a producer, you might be the guy to answer this question:
Can you name the six best tracks where someone not from Houston sampled someone from Houston?
That Purple Bastard:
6. "Free Loop Dub," Sublime Samples: "Chuckie," Geto Boys
I grew up in Southeast Houston in a pretty poor area and listened to a lot of rap when I was a young kid because it's what kids in the neighborhood were listening to; Geto Boys, Bone Thugs, and the like. I remember being really into Geto Boys when I was 9 or 10 and I guess I felt connected to it because my best friend shined shoes at a shop in 5th Ward and I used to go and visit and hang out a lot out there. I remember one time my cousin Sarah (who was living with our family at the time) and I wrote a Geto Boys-styled song complete with requisite references to rape and castration. We were so proud of it that we decided to perform it for my mom (who is about the sweetest person who has ever lived) and she was mortified. I remember getting a big lecture and punishment over it and subsequently never bringing it up again. I'm pretty sure we destroyed the tape too.
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Fast forward to a few years later and I'm in a magnet school in a good part of town going to school with predominantly white kids who had a lot more money than me. My tastes quickly changed from rap and hip-hop to Nirvana and Soundgarden so I could fit in. When Sublime came out I really loved them because they were rock but with a lot of genuine rap and reggae influences. I soon got deep into their catalog and discovered a tape called "Robbin' The Hood" that changed my life. It was a weird mess of an album that had a lot of instrumental and demo cuts on it along with found sounds of a crazy old man ranting and raving for most of the album. "Free Loop Dub," a dubby, dancehall-influenced instrumental track was my favorite of the bunch and when the sample of Bushwick's unmistakable rasp dropped in at the two minute mark with "Aww fuck, Chuck's on a killin' spree again..." I connected with it on a whole other level and have always loved the song ever since.
5. "Like A Pimp"- David Banner feat. Lil Flip Samples: "Take It Off," UGK
While this wasn't my favorite track off Banner's Mississippi album, it was still a pretty solid cut and probably the first non-Houston track to gratuitously sample Pimp C's voice; now they all do it. The track also features Lil' Flip, who I really miss hearing on tracks. I'll always have love for David Banner because the SwishaHouse remix of Mississippi was the first-ever chopped and screwed album to be commercially marketed outside of the South. I remember losing my shit when I saw him on MTV talking about it and thinking "Pretty soon, they're gonna know!" Pretty soon, they did.
4. "Like A Boss," The Lonely Island feat. Seth Rogen Samples: "Like A Boss," Slim Thug
The South loves irony and so do the folks over at Saturday Night Live. In Samberg and Co.'s redux of the hard-hitting Slim Thug track, Samberg goes from exploring the mundane reality of actually being someone's boss to absurd flights of fancy dealing with self castration, having sex with a giant fish, and turning into a rocket and bombing the Kremlin. Nuff' said.
3. "1st Key," Birdman & Lil' Wayne Samples: "Pocket Full Of Stones," UGK
I love this song. The best part about it are how the multiple samples from "Pocket Full of Stones" are seamlessly worked into the fabric of the song and Baby and Wayne actually pause and do not rap over the Pimp C samples when they pop up. It makes for a crack-rap song that is pretty complex from an arrangement standpoint and alludes to parallels between the humble beginnings of Chad Butler and his Louisiana neighbors.
2. "Every Day," Girl Talk Samples: "One Day," UGK
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Girl Talk is great. With the copious amount of H-Town samples he likes to throw in his mixes, I probably could've made this whole list with just his songs but it just wouldn't have been fair since all of his tracks are borderline remixes. The 3-minute mark of this frantic hyper-remix sees Bun's verse from "One Day" juxtaposed over John Lennon's equally-wistful "Imagine." The only mark against the track is that it doesn't include the better and more emotionally charged Pimp C verse, but the whole tape is pretty fun and maybe Girl Talk figured that Pimp C's verse was too much of a downer to end his album with.
1. "November 18th," Drake Samples: "June 27th," DJ Screw
I might catch some flack for this one, but I think this track is really excellent and probably the best non-Houstonian sampling a Houston classic. I remember hearing this track on the SwishaHouse "Under The Influence" mixtape before I even knew who Drake was or all of the associations that now come with him. I told a DJ friend of mine about it a week or two after I heard it and he was like "Yeah, that's Drake. He's from Canada." That shit blew my mind!
All in all, I really love the song because I feel like it really captures the essence and feeling of what it's like to hear a real Grey Tape and Drake really takes the track and adds his own Drake-y R&B twist to it. I also like the quality of the screwed vocals. You can hear the tape distortion in them as opposed to someone who just slowed down a vocal sample. As an engineer, you appreciate that level of detail and I remember being very impressed by the Canadian cover.