World renowned as the “King of Diggin'”, Tokyo-bred producer/remixer DJ Muro is as versatile a grandmixer as they come – having mastered virtually every genre of funky groove-ology under the sun via his many acclaimed mixes. Of course, it was Muro’s celebrated mid-’90s series of hip-hop sample-source-spotting mix-tapes (not coincidentally entitled, “King of Diggin'”) that initially put his selector skills on the map. Thus, it was only a matter of time before we hit up this mos’ regal of ETL contributors for a list of his own personal favorite sample flips. Bow down!
(Props to K-Prince for translating.)
HIT UP THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK OUT MURO’S FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS
1. Marley Marl ft. Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap & Big Daddy Kane - "The Symphony" (Cold Chillin', 1988)
PRODUCER: Marley Marl
SAMPLE SOURCE: Rory-O & Chuck Colbert – “Do It Your Way” (Summerfest, 1973)
DJ Muro: When Pete Rock first came to Japan in the mid-’90s, I played a gig with him in a city called Mito. We went digging together and that’s when he put me up on this 45. When he told me that this 45 with this “FAT” drum break was never sold in stores and only given out at a music festival, I was like WTF!? Standing ovation to Marley Marl for digging up such an obscure record – especially so far back in the day – and cooking up a true hip-hop classic!
2. Mobb Deep - "Shook Ones Pt. II" (Loud, 1995)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Daly-Wilson Big Band ft. Kerrie Biddell – “Dirty Feet” (General Recording Corp., 1974)
DJ Muro: This is another one that I picked up in the mid-’90s at a record shop in Shibuya. I saw the words “Drum Break!” on the sleeve, so I dropped the needle and instantly realized it was the drums from “Shook Ones.” And I remember very vividly trying to suppress my excitement and remain calm in the store with my headphones on.
3. Soho - "Hot Music" (United Sounds of America, 1990)
PRODUCER: Pal Joey
SAMPLE SOURCE: Wynton Marsalis – “Skain’s Domain” (Columbia, 1986)
DJ Muro: When I first heard this OG sample, I couldn’t believe that such a “pop” piano phrase was from a few seconds of a straight ahead jazz track from ’86… I remember the NY DJs loving and playing this joint to death. And later groups like EPMD sampled it. Classic. I wanted to kneel down on the ground and bow to Pal Joey for coming up with this loop back in the days!
4. Brand Nubian - "All For One" (Elektra, 1991)
PRODUCER: Brand Nubian
SAMPLE SOURCE: James Brown – “Can Mind” (King, 1971)
DJ Muro: I’d always heard that this JB album was more on the rock tip, so I got my hands on it much later than his other albums. For that reason alone, when I heard that quick phrase that was flipped for “All For One,” my jaw hit the floor…
5. Gang Starr - "Mass Appeal" (Chrysalis, 1994)
PRODUCER: DJ Premier
SAMPLE SOURCE: Vic Juris – “Horizon Drive” (Muse, 1980)
DJ Muro: Back when “Mass Appeal” came out, a friend mistakenly told me that the infectious loop was from a Groove Merchant recording, so I dug through my crates and listened back to all the GM joints that I had. No luck. A few years later, another friend from overseas put me up on the Vic Juris album. Preemo is a monster for taking just those few seconds and making it into such a classic hit.
6. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - "Lots of Lovin'" (Elektra, 1992)
PRODUCER: Pete Rock
SAMPLE SOURCE: Ohio Players – “What’s Going On” (Westbound, 1974)
DJ Muro: I’d always thought that Pete took a piece of a nice obscure R&B tune for this, so when I found out that it was from that little part at the end of this Ohio Players song, it was a shock – like Robocop was to Chubb Rock. Pete’s use of Tom Scott on “T.R.O.Y.” and the P.E. “Shut ‘Em Down” remix was crazy too, but this one completely caught me off guard.
7. Artifacts - "Whassup Now Muthafucka?" (Big Beat, 1994)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Joe Farrell – “Upon This Rock” (CTI, 1974)
DJ Muro: “Upon This Rock” is amongst my personal Top 5 favorite drum breaks of all-time. But this album also showed me that CTI – despite being famous as a jazz label – had some real rock influenced albums too. I especially remember this one because around the same time the Artifacts came out with this track I was also looping up the same part and was like, damn.
8. Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth - "Strictly For the Ladies" (Wild Pitch, 1990)
PRODUCER: DJ Premier
SAMPLE SOURCE: Lee Dorsey – “A Lover Was Born” (Amy, 1969)
DJ Muro: Finesse has taught me many things, and this particular song taught me that there are crazy beats out of New Orleans. I feel like Finesse’s beats and lyrics have that similar funky, cheerful, lively vibe like the soul music of New Orleans. He is definitely one of my all-time favorites.
9. Eric B. & Rakim - "Paid In Full (Seven Minutes Of Madness - Coldcut Remix)" (4th & B'way, 1988)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Rick Jones – “Bang On A Drum” (BBC, 1973)
DJ Muro: I loved the collage type production of Coldcut when they first came out. Like with [Double Dee and Steinski’s] “Lesson” series, I used to go crazy looking for every sample used on their records. I found this particular album at Beat Bop Records in Shibuya in the ’90s and was amazed with how Coldcut used that little piece of the break just for the fade out of the “Paid In Full” remix.
10. Davy DMX - "One For the Treble (Fresh)" (Tuff City, 1984)
PRODUCER: Davy D
SAMPLE SOURCE: The Gap Band – “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)” (Mercury, 1980)
DJ Muro: [Muro’s mentor] DJ Krush [for whom I was security/MC/record carrier/driver] put me up on this record as a “scratch tool” in the late ’80s. I remember scratching this record to death along with [Fab 5 Freddy’s] “Change the Beat.” Not only did this record have that car screeching “brake” sound, it had that chirping chicken sound as well. So it was a very useful record to DJ with.