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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