When news broke a little over a year ago that Jack Bruce had passed, subsequent memorials naturally noted his work as vocalist and bassist in Cream. Longtime hip-hop beatheads, on the other hand, couldn’t help but think back to Bruce’s eclectic 1971 solo jazz effort Things We Like and its stature during a concentrated stretch of the ’90s as an indelibly oddball sample source for classic productions by (especially) Showbiz, Diamond, T-Ray and others. Basically Runaway Slave isn’t Runaway Slave without Things We Like . If this fact means anything you to you then you may wanna check out my latest RBMA Radio mix, which celebrates these recordings in tandem.
More words below and some pix of the song selects in the gallery to peruse while you listen. Enjoy!
Jack Bruce is certified rock n’ roll royalty – world renowned for holding down bass and vocal duties in treacherous power trio Cream in the late 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. But amongst longtime hip hop beat-heads Bruce’s biggest musical contribution is his 1971 solo album Things We Like . Leading a UK jazz quartet featuring John McLaughlin’s distinctively distorted angular fretwork and Dick Hextall-Smith’s chirpy reeds, Bruce’s frenzied post-bop originals and treatments of standards would catch the ears of adventurous hip-hop producers some 20-years later, making Things We Like one of the most liberally sampled LPs of the decade. On the latest episode of “Across 135th Street,” Chairman Mao pays homage to Bruce’s unlikely sample source bonanza, interweaving passages of the original LP with classic ’90s tracks from Showbiz & AG , Diamond D , Smif-N-Wessun , Artifacts , Souls of Mischief and others. Nod ya head and hear how Things We Like begat Beats We Like.