Who Flipped It Better? Gangstarr Vs. Kwame

It doesn’t really sound like too fair of a match-up, does it? But, don’t sleep, Kwame didn’t call himself the ‘Boy Genius’ for no reason. From what he says in the video below [from D-Nice’s True Hip Hop Stories series], he basically brought a rhyme book and a crate of records that he wanted to sample up to a studio where the late great Paul C was engineering, and went to work. Check this video out and then we’ll get into the breakdowns:

Kwame’ And The New Beginning – The Rhythm: I am not one of the most ‘analytical’ guys here at the T.R.O.Y. blog, so bear with me. If you think this guy was wack because Biggie said, “your life is played out like Kwame’ and them fucking polka dots,” then I don’t know what to tell you. This right here is some pioneering shit. Besides the sample we’re focusing on, he also used pieces from James Brown – Funky Drummer, Lynn Collins – Ain’t No Sunshine, and The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There [damn, car and/or douche commercials have really ruined this song for me]. Check how you can hear the separation of the drums in this video. That’s rawness and I love it. The song has an almost amateur sound to it. But you can tell that was what they were going for.

Gangstarr – The ? Remainz: Where to even begin on this one? This is all speculation, but I get the feeling that Primo definitely had Kwame’s song in mind when he approached his sampling for this track. I believe he wanted to show how a previously used sample could be flipped and chopped into something entirely different. He was also showing how Gangstarr was still like an open ended question. Constantly elevating from album to album and on the b-sides in between. You can yell at me in the comments if you think I’m wrong, but I really can’t think of an earlier track where such small samples were chopped and replayed in this fashion. I pretty much bugged the first time I heard this and had to do a triple take when I realized what sample he used. The ? Remainz is definitely innovative and groundbreaking. And, not for nothing, Guru spits some of my favorite lines I ever heard from him on this cut.

I’m pretty positive that certain things were cleared for this song, but I’m not taking any chances here. I don’t wanna be THAT dude that gets someone in trouble or causes them financial woes over clearance issues.


Sample Source

Kwame’ And The New Beginning – The Rhythm

Gangstarr – The ? Remainz


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31 Responses to “Who Flipped It Better? Gangstarr Vs. Kwame”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Edan also sampled this joint on "Emcees Smoke Crack"…

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is an easy call to me. The way Primo chopped that B.J. track is pure genius.

  3. qnzgrimiest says:

    they both flipped it ill, but gotta go with gangstarr

  4. PAS says:

    Gangstarr no question, and as for Kwame to be using multiple samples like that back in the day, that was far better executed by say Bomb Squad or Eric B & Rakim for that matter. Wouldnt you agree? Bomb Squad also pioneered using tiny samples and pasting them together something tremendous and that was way before Primo perfected his art. As for calling out samples, thats something Primos never been a fan of SOMETIMES as there is a supposedly affiliated blog about Premier http://djpremierblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Sample
    which contains quite large info about what samples he uses, surely they would stick it to that blog before they come to you Verge! Great post, have a good one!

  5. Boothe says:


  6. Boothe says:

    Oh shit, I just noticed that this track was also sampled by Natural Resource for their track "Heavy Loungin"


  7. Anonymous says:


  8. AaronM says:

    Premo, no question. But the Kwame is very dope too.

  9. Cenzi Stiles says:

    This is wrong.

    The sample on Kwame's version is left intact. And in THIS case, shit, fuck Kwame's version, I'mma stick with Geto Boys's version on "Gangsta (Put me Down)"

    Primo's version is ok. He barely uses the track with basically two bass sounds. Could have been from any track.

  10. DJ Wax On says:

    Edan flips it better than either of them IMO

  11. Anonymous says:

    kwame is the best rapper in the world of course a duh!!!!!! people dont know he was just as if not smater than einstien, no joke do your research you idiots!!!!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    kwame is a real genius! i can truly say that i been studying his rap for 20 years and he is cleary uncomparable to any musician foreal!!!!!! a hands down real scientist that could easily take on and out any college proffessor!!!!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok kids put it this way, you can take 100 m.i.t proffessors and 100 of the worlds top scientists to decipher these lyrics, and I betcha 100 dollars they would be stupified by the science behind his music!!!!!! Kwame deserves more respect than he gets but yall is tooooooo dumb to figure it out

  14. verge says:

    ^What's good Kwame'? Lol
    @PAS- Yeah, I know other producers were using multiple samples well before 'The Rhythm', and also some doing it better.
    What really got me about it was how he brought all them records in the studio and cut that whole record that quick and it sounded dope. Like how you can hear that some of the drums are doubling up a little bit off, but that's what makes it sound raw to me.
    And, yeah, I agree that people were chopping up samples before 'The ? Remainz', but to me not quite as rugged and precise. And I'm sure it can be stated as fact that Primo knew the Kwame track before he sampled that BJ cut. Which leads me to think that he was on some old watch me make this happy joint turn into an unrecognizable banger.
    That's my line of thought, anyway.
    Glad yall tuned in.
    I'm definitely gonna bring some more of these debatable posts during the summer.

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