Sunday, 29 September 2013

Cypress Hill have their Hand on the Pump with Gene and Junior Walker

I first heard of Cypress Hill when I saw the video for Phuncky Feel One on MTV Raps back in August 1991.  At the time you could only get MTV on Sky or Cable in the UK and although my family did not have it I would carry my video recorder the three miles to a friends house every week to record videos off MTV.  Up until that point I had never seen a Hip Hop video unless by some chance it had made it onto BBC's Top of the Pops or ITV's The Chart Show but these outlets were only for the mainstream Hip Hop acts or occasionally De La Soul or even PE.  When I saw the video for Phuncky Feel One I was struck by how diffeent and fresh this sound was.  the video was weird as hell but it really caught my attention.  I never managed to get the 12" but I certainly got the subsequent 12"s from that album.  The first of which was Hand on the Pump.
Hand on the Pump is a song that immediately grabs your attention by using a vocal sample chopped expertly by DJ Muggs before an off kilter guitar sample comes.  A nice bass line and drum break underline the track and as it progresses a short guitar riff comes in during the verses.  A perfect example of early DJ Muggs production from what in my opinion is their best album.  B Real's nasal voice drops a dope first verse.  The chorus is a joint affair with B-Real dropping the first part and Sen Dog coming in for the second part in his usual out of breath style.  Sen Dog drops the second verse although not sounding as out of breath as he usually does before B-Real comes in again for the final 16 bars.  A great all round track that can ignite a Golden Era Hip Hop crowd quickly.

The track itself is made up of three samples; Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl", Junior Walker and the All Star's "Shotgun" and  BDP's "Poetry".  Gene Chandler is a Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, a National Association of Television and Radio Announcers producer of the year award winner and a Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer award winner.  He is also one of the few artists to have top 40 hit records during the Doo Wop, Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Disco eras.  He also worked with Curtis Mayfield and at one time was signed to Mayfield' Curtom label.  He self produced songs whilst on Curtom and appeared on recordings with Mayfield and also the Impressions.  He famously wore a monocle, cape, top hot and crowned himself the Duke of Earl.  The track used for Cypress Hill's Hand on the Pump was his second 7" and was released in 1962 shortly after adopted the Duke of Earl person.  It is also the title of the track which sold over a million copies and stayed at the top of the billboard chart for three weeks.  

The second sample that makes up Hand on the Pump is by Junior Walker and the All Stars.  The song is called "Shotgun" and is straight up funk.  The track was released in 1965 and was written and composed by Walker with production by Berry Gordy.  At the time the group were signed to Motown and included the Funk Brother's James Jamerson on bass and Benny Benjamin on drums.  It reached number 4 on the Billboard chart and number 1 on the R&B chart.  Its an amazingly funky song with a lovely sax, tight drums and a funky guitar riff throughout.  

The BDP Sample was taken from the classic "Poetry" which was featured on their 1987 classic "Criminal Minded".  The drums here appear to be the main part of the track that Muggs chose to recycle. 
It is easy to tell what Muggs used from Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl" the striking sample at the start and the chorus.  For the rest of the track he chose samples from Junior Walker's "Shotgun", in particular the off key guitar riff and from BDP's "Poetry" he grabbed the drums.  These elements combined with the unmistakably individual voice of B-Real and Sen Dog make this a fantastic track.   The track was so popular that they even made a sequel on their sophomore album "Black Sunday" called "Hand on the Glock".  A good track and very similar to the original only minus the Gene Chandler sample.
Grab ":Handon on the Pump", the instrumental and samples by following this link as well as "Hand on the Glock"

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