Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Bob and Premier show

In this post I'm going to be writing about two of my favorite musical artists ever; Bob James and DJ Premier. If you listen to Hip Hop and don't know who Bob James is then you should be ashamed of yourself. Bob James for those that don't know is a Jazz artist whose material has been sampled by too many Hip Hop artists to list them all hear but a few notables are; Run DMC, Gang Starr, DJ Shadow, Eric B and Rakim, EPMD, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, NWA, Ghostface Killah and BDP. Although Bob James is a legendary musician in his own right he has also produced for other Jazz legends including David Sanbourn, Grover Washington Jnr and Kenny Loggins. Bob's most sampled tracks are 'Take me to the Mardi Gras' (Two Columbia 1975) and 'Nautilus' (One CTI Records 1974) however for this post I hae chosen a lesser sampled track called 'The Golden Apple' taken from his 1975 album 'Two' which was released on Colombia. This is a seven minutes plus track which features numerous changes in tempo, some sick strings and dark piano. There are many points in this track that are screaming out to be sampled however Premier chose carefully and chopped a nice loop up that starts about two minutes and ten seconds into the track.

DJ Premier uses this sample on a track called 'Baby Pa' taken from Group Home's 1995 debut 'Livin' Proof'. Premier produced the entire album and it is easily one of his most creative projects to date. He mixed a wide variety samples sources on this album ranging from Jazz to Soul to Opera. For me this album is all about Premier's beats. 'Livin Proof' dropped in 1995, a year in which he had produced beats for Fat Joe, KRS ONE, Biggie, Das EFX not to mention the phenomenal 'Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers'. Premier was everywhere that year and this album solidified his position as the best producer in Hip Hop. A title I don't think anyone has the right to claim even now. On 'Baby Pa' Premier flips a number of samples starting with a heavy funk guitar and then he brings in an Opera sample before finally dropping the Bob James sample at which point Nutcracker comes in with his lyrics. This track is often overlooked when people talk about this album and thats probably down to the fact that it featured three very strong singles; 'Supa Star', 'Livin Proof' and 'Suspended in time'. I would say that Premier's production on this album is probably his best full album outside of his work with GURU.

Bob James- The Golden Apple
Group Home-Baby Pa

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