1. J-Zone's 10 Favorite Sample Flips.

    SampleFlips_JZONE_v2

    Given his newfound status as a celebrated author (and resident egotripland contributing curmudgeon ), perhaps it’s easy to forget J-Zone ’s history as a skilled producer in his own right. The miracle-working maestro of dollar bin sample fare, Zone’s dense leftfield funk has accompanied raps by everyone from Akinyele to R.A. the Rugged Man, E-40 to Andy Samberg’s Lonely Island. But it’s his own recordings that provide the best platform for his distinctively off-the-wall aesthetic. While J’s 2001 opus Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes remains a classic of the broke baller ethos, don’t snooze on the other projects deeper within his oeuvre - like his exceedingly clever ’06 Hendrix tribute EP, Experienced! Like much of his other work their comic impulses belie a musical intricacy and sophistication that show J to be an ace student of the craft of beat-making. Oh, and let the record also show: contrary to popular rumor this funk fiend hasn’t fully retired from making tracks, he’s just chillin’ in the rap nursing home. Between bingo matches and bedpan changes we hit him up for a list of his favorite sample flips.

    HIT UP THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK OUT J-ZONE'S FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS.

    10. J-Zone - “Stroke Happy” (Old Maid Entertainment, 2001)

    PRODUCER: J-Zone

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Artist Unknown - Horny Corny Funky Songs LP (no label, date unknown)

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    J-Zone: I didn’t really want to include this because I didn’t do much to the sample, but the original record is so ridiculous and I’ve been asked what it is so many times to date. There’s no info or titles listed on the album, so I have no idea what the song’s proper name is. I remember finding the record and being like, "The rest of my album can be garbage; flipping this shit for a skit will make it undissable!"

    9. Tha Alkaholiks - “Read My Lips” (Loud, 1995)

    PRODUCER: E-Swift

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Ohio Players - "Satan's Boogie" (Westbound, 1993 - previously unreleased '70s recording)

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    J-Zone: E-Swift should call up Mark the 45 King, The Beatnuts, Ultramagnetic, and Showbiz and create the most underrated hip-hop producers of all time super-group. Swift had a knack for sampling the smallest snippets of shit and piecing all of them together to make something really dense. The entire Coast II Coast album was done with this style and it inspired me as a producer who liked to use a “kitchen sink” approach to making beats. Just keep piling samples into the machine ‘til it runs out of memory. All he sampled was little bits of the guitar riff and then put it in key with a bunch of other little sounds. The whole album is an exercise in sample-based hip-hop that you can put in movies and dip the clearance.

    8. Divine Styler - “Ain’t Sayin Nothin” (Syndicate/Epic, 1989)

    PRODUCER: Bilal Bashir

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    SAMPLE SOURCES: Jr. Walker and the All-Stars - “Shoot Your Shot” (Soul, 1967)

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    Banbarra - “Shack Up” (United Artists, 1975)

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    J-Zone: This song is incredible as a whole. When I listen to this, I can’t help but think it was the pre-cursor to DJ Premier’s mid-’90s style: Chopped up Ultimate Breaks & Beats drums, a weird sample triggered crazily, and absolutely no bass whatsoever. [ laughs ] Just straight punchy mid-range. This sounds like it could be on Hard to Earn or Jeru’s first album. Bilal flipped that Junior Walker horn really dope on the breakdown because there’s a little delay in the sample before the horn comes in so it sounds crazy when he triggers it. House of Pain used the same horn for “Jump Around,” but this usage was better, I thought. Bilal did a nice job flipping up the drums at the end of the song, too.

    7. Wrecks-N-Effect - “New Jack Swing” (Motown, 1989)

    PRODUCER: Markell Riley

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: The Village Callers - “Hector” (Rampart, 1968)

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    J-Zone: Fuck all you keep-it-realers. The “Hector” loop has been used by others, but it was never freaked into a dance cut like this. Simply by adding a few horn hits, guitar riffs, and the right swing on the drums, the tone and vibe of the loop are completely altered. On the real, the LP this song is on ( Wrecks-N-Effect ) had so many dope beats on it from Markell Riley and Redhead Kingpin. Don’t sleep because of Phife’s “Strictly harcore tracks, not a New Jack Swing” line. Same goes for Hollywood Impact with the hip-house shit. All that shit was basically danceable Bomb Squad stuff and when people go through hip-hop’s history, they slight this type of shit unfairly when talking about production.

    6. Masta Ace - “Saturday Nite Live” (Delicious Vinyl, 1993)

    PRODUCER: Uneek

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Melvin Bliss - “Substitution” (Sunburst, 1973)

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    J-Zone: See the #1 Honorable Mention pick (below) for why the legal climate of sampling in 1992 made producers get creative and how Ace & Co. handled it. That also explains another trend of the time: The ½ bar loop. The style didn’t last long because if you didn’t freak it right, the beat got repetitive. But those who knew how to take a really short clip, have it rocking continuously and keep the beat exciting mastered the style; Uneek was able to do it well. An SP-1200 user at the time, my limited sampling time forced me to experiment with this style and I still love it.

    5. Ultramagnetic MCs - “When I Burn” (Next Plateau, 1988)

    PRODUCER: Ced Gee

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Brother Soul - “Cookies” (Leo Mini, 1974)

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    J-Zone: The funny shit about this, I didn’t actually own Critical Beatdown ‘til 1993. I had Funk Your Head Up and The Four Horsemen first and then went back to get this. I always loved the “Cookies” break beat and I’d started making beats already, so I’d always try to loop it. But there was that loud car horn at the end of the loop that kind of threw it off. I heard this and lost my mind. Ced Gee chopped it at the snare and got the effectiveness of it as a drum loop and cut out the horn. Plus he piled all that other crazy shit on top. I still want to flip “Cookies” so bad, but I’ve never come up with anything that can top this. From the first three Ultra albums to Tim Dog's Penicillin on Wax , Ultra’s shit has never been duplicated.

    4. Ice Cube - “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” (Priority, 1990)

    PRODUCER: The Bomb Squad

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Kool and the Gang - “Let the Music Take Your Mind” (De-Lite, 1969)

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    J-Zone: When we search for drums, we usually look for clean breaks so we can pile other samples on top of ‘em easily. The Bomb Squad were so ill for looping a noisy and “busted” (containing accidental, clipped vocals and solo fills) drum loop and making it the main piece for Cube to rap on. The drums just sound so God damn big and noisy when they drop, too. The mix on this song is sterling.

    3. Eric B. & Rakim - “No Omega” (MCA, 1990)

    PRODUCER: Eric B. & Rakim (but rumored to be an uncredited Large Professor or Paul C)

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Kool and the Gang: “Chocolate Buttermilk” (De-Lite, 1969)

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    J-Zone: Lord Finesse beat me to the punch with the “It’s A Boy” remix and its “Spinning Wheel” drums , but Eric B. & Ra’s “No Omega” is the same concept. I knew the drums were from “Chocolate Buttermilk,” but there were breakdowns and fills in the drums that weren’t on the Kool & the Gang song. Large Professor was so adept at chopping drums that he made it sound like he had an original session to the song that nobody else had or some shit. The breaks and fills sounded so natural that there was no way of knowing that they weren’t on the original record somewhere, laid down by the original drummer, if you didn’t have the record. Then I think he added another drum break on top at points throughout the song, but I can't say with certainty - it was that seamless. Large was mentored by the late, great Paul C, so it all makes sense. Those guys would sample the ghost notes in a drum break and flip em; it wasn't just kicks, hi-hats, and snares. Large wasn't credited for the beat, but I'll be damned if either he or Paul C didn't do this.

    2. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - “Soul Brother #1” (Elektra, 1992)

    PRODUCER: Pete Rock

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Ohio Players - “Pain” (Westbound, 1971)

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    9th Creation - “Bubble Gum” (Pye, 1975)

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    The JBs - "The Grunt" (King, 1970)

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    J-Zone: Not until I got the "Pain" record did I realize that it wasn’t the natural bassline for the “Bubble Gum” keyboard loop. At the end of “Soul Brother #1,” Pete has the filtered bassline playing under the keyboard loop and it sounds like one record. I recognized the high parts of the “Pain” sample and when I sampled it myself, I discovered the bassline for “Soul Brother #1” was from that song, too. I must’ve been about 16 years old at that point, and I’d just started making beats. Nobody ever layered different loops in perfect key like Pete did, before or ever since. That was the day I decided to take producing seriously.

    1. Ice Cube - “Jackin’ For Beats” (Priority, 1990)

    PRODUCER: Sir Jinx

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    SAMPLE SOURCES: Everything in rap at the time and Tom Brokaw’s Gangs, Cops, and Drugs documentary

    J-Zone: Fuck all this flip shit; just start jackin' everyone in sight. This was the first time this concept was done and it’s anathema to what diggin’ for rarities and flippin’ samples are about, but rap is all about breaking rules anyway. On the total opposite end of the spectrum, I have to give Jinx and the crew credit for sampling that Tom Brokaw special from 1989 for the opening dialogue. It doesn’t get any more obscure than that - a made for TV documentary that was never available commercially. Jacking records we all have and film dialog none of us has - that keeps everyone happy.

    HONORABLE MENTION #1: Masta Ace - “Boom Bashin'” (Delicious Vinyl, 1993)

    PRODUCER: Uneek

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    SAMPLE SOURCE (Drums): James Brown - "Funky Drummer" (King, 1970)

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    J-Zone: They sampled “Funky Drummer,” the ultimate hip-hop faux pas at the time (1993). Ace then says, “So what I used ‘Funky Drummer?' Suck my dick.” A year later, DJ Premier started jacking drums from the Ultimate Breaks & Beats volumes to make classic shit and those cats who went to the record conventions at the Roosevelt Hotel and spent $250 on the Power of Zeus drums and made bullshit-ass beats wound up with egg on their faces. I always hated that record snob shit.

    With all the legal and financial woes of sampling in 1992 (just look at the credits of The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride album for proof), you either spent your whole budget and cleared every single sound like the Pharcyde, or you went the route of their labelmate, Masta Ace, and freaked samples ‘til they were unrecognizable. Ace’s Slaughtahouse album remains unheralded as one of the most cleverly-produced sample-based rap albums ever made. Those are all records everyone had, but they were too lazy to find ways to freak 'em. And then Uneek samples the screaming from the end of Compton's Most Wanted's "Drive-by Miss Daisy" for the chorus on this? Like... who the fuck does that?

    HONORABLE MENTION #2: Ice Cube - “We Don’t Want No 8-Ball (St. Ides Commercial)”

    PRODUCER: DJ Pooh

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    SAMPLE SOURCE: Steely Dan - “The Fez” (ABC, 1976)

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    J-Zone: If The Bomb Squad and Prince Paul shared an apartment in Compton for a year, then collaborated to produce an album, it would sound like a DJ Pooh production. DJ Pooh is a genius and he never gets the props he deserves for King Tee’s Tha Triflin’ Album , which is a Top 20 all-time hip-hop album to me. Also, Threat’s Sickinnahead album and all the Ice Cube stuff he did. It was like he made this ill, quirky, gangster funk shit that you couldn’t pigeonhole to any coast or particular aesthetic. Malt liquor fucked up a lot of hoods, but musically, the St. Ides commercials embody everything there is to love about hip-hop. They were just raw and bold as fuck when it came to sampling - I guess since they weren’t commercially available, they didn’t give a shit about clearing any samples. This one is one of my favorites because of how the “Oh no!” vocal part of “The Fez” fits into Cube’s call and response about drinking 8-Ball. “The Fez” is kind of like a poppy record and it sounds so gutter in this context.

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  2. You might wanna peep...

    • http://www.ptas.dk Peter PTA

      Awesome list, as insightful as I had expected it to be from J-Zone.

      I know the text alludes to it, but Ase One (who is Masta Ace) is also credited as the producer of Boom Bashin along with Uneek. He's also one of the few Juice Crew era MC's that got co-producer credit next to Marley Marl on his debut, and I think he's been a pretty inventive producer - not afraid to do mainstream or westcoast sounds when it wasn't politically correct.

    • http://www.bloggerhouse.net Trav

      Thank you for giving the production on "Slaughtahouse" the recognition it deserves. I've long been saying that same thing, but a lot of cats fail to see the genius of that album on the production side.

      E Swift is brutally underrated and I've always said that Divine Styler beat is one of my favorites all-time

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      Thanks Peter! And yeah, Ace embraced the West Coast sound. It started from all the MC Eiht samples on Slaughtahouse and all the bass he had in his stuff. Then on Sittin on Chrome, he went at it full blast. I spoke to Ace and Uneek before I did this and they confirmed that Uneek did the track. Ace spiced shit up with sounds, but Uneek did the main chunk of the beat.

    • Abstruse Prude

      I still don't understand why so many people sleep on that second Alkaholiks album. Like they never did anything except "Make Room" and "Only When I'm Drunk." That second album is the shit!

      Speaking of the shit...fuckin' Pete Rock, man. Even when you think he did some simple shit like, "Oh, he put this loop with these drums," no, he put that loop with those drums and then filtered this other thing and put it underneath and clipped this little horn from out of nowhere and spiced the whole thing up with a guitar lick. I've had so many "oh my god, Pete Rock..." moments like what J is talking about with that Ohio Players record. When you really sit down and go over all the samples he used to make one song and how he made them all work together, it's astounding.

    • http://dangerously.bandcamp.com rljd

      Can you really call Slaughtahouse an "embrace" of the west coast sound, when it's a concept record dissing gangsta rap? I know Sittin' On Chrome was supposed to be an olive branch, but there was still that Hardcore joint dissing everybody... I kind of always saw those nods to west coast production as turning the knife a little harder.

    • http://www.twitter.com/hotboxbeats hotbox

      Whoa this sample flip series is easily my favorite thing on the internet ever.

    • oskamadison

      J-Zone, you went in. Funny how you mention Premo on that Divine Styler joint (shout out to Video Music Box 'cause that's the ONLY place I ever saw that video...) 'cause Preme flipped those drums even harder on Gang Starr's "Speak Ya Clout" (Jeru's verse). I always leaned more towards "Take A Look Around" as far as Master Ace joints go but I might have to revisit "Slaughterhouse" (I did cop that cassette maxi-single for "Jeep Ass Niguh" though.) Crititical Beatdown is one of my top 5 faves (you know the "house on fire, what would you save" bit? I'm goin' back in for the cassette AND the CD reissue...and maybe my wedding pictures, lol) but you know how you like some joints better than others? When I Burn was one of the others, still ill though. Ease Back was retarded. How do you jack some PE shit (only like 2 or 3 months after it came out!!) and make it sound harder?!!! Finally, Pete Rock should have given tutorials on layering and key matching samples (with Large Pro as his assisstant.) Exhibit A: "For Pete's Sake". Job well done, Zone...

    • oskamadison

      One other thing: it was Extra P who did those Eric B. and Rakim joints. It was supposed to be Paul C but he got killed before it could happen. Eric B. knew that not only was Paul C Large Pro's mentor but Paul Cactually showed Large the records he was going to use for Rakim so Eric got Large to do it. What happened with the credit? Anyone's guess...

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      I never really saw Slaughtahouse as dissing the west as a whole. Just the stereotypical B-rate gangster shit that came from all places (including NY). But the "More Bounce" loop and the "Open up the...doe, do the slaughtahouse so I can kill a lil' mo!" was definitely west coast tinged. I knew Large did those joints on Let The Rhythm Hit em. I just had to be PC because of the listing, but I can tell his programming style from that era from a mile away. I know he did a bunch of shit on that first Intelligent Hoodlum album too. And Kool G Rap's Wanted Dead or Alive as well. And I vividly remember seeing the Divine Styler joint get a debut on MTV Raps. "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" made a debut the same day. I remember cause I cut school that day and got in mad trouble!

    • oskamadison

      Didn't know Divine Styler made it to MTV. A dude was too broke for cable back in the day, lol. The irony of Master Ace supposedly taking shots at the west coast (the generic clones) was, of course, him doin' it on a west coast label. Yeah, Large Pro was all over that G Rap album. If ghostproducers had a hall of fame, his place is secure. Question: can readers submit their favorite sample flips? these joints kinda got me inspired?

    • http://coldrockdaspot.blogspot.com Jaz

      Zone you are an amazing producer and writer, thank you for this fam, agree on all fronts, one question how do you know that Preem was sampling drums from The Ultimate Breaks and Beats LP's?

      I'm not saying that you are wrong but that surprises me when you consider the size of his record collection and when he was dissing those Dusty Fingers compilations.

      Peace

    • DJMichaelTimex

      Yeah Divine Styler's "Sayin' Nothin" was on MTV a while, they ran it for a good bit, that was my shit. They need to get DJ Muggs on this to list his favorite flips.

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      Thanks Jaz. Dusty fingers and the UBB series are 2 very different things, haha. Dusty Fingers ratted out the producers who sampled them on the back covers. The UBB volumes were made long before most of these producers even started. He may have had originals, but most of Preemo's Drums from 1992-95 were drums we could all find on UBB volumes. Dwyck, Code of the Streets, Speak Ya Clout, Outta Here, Higher Level, Tonz O Gunz, The P Is Still Free, half the Group Home LP, Unbelievable, Come Clean, Static, Perverted Monks, Comin 4 Datazz, etc. It wasn't like he was strictly using Power of Zeus, Brethren, Bob Azzam, etc. He used those, but he also used common drums available to all who had the UBB and he made em sound so ill.

      And yeah, feel free to list your Top 10s Oskamadison. It's all opinion anyway.

    • catGhost

      I like the way Premo doesn't use strictly vintage records. He gets his drums from hip hop records sometimes (didn't he use the Top Billin drums on Livin Proof?) and I'm sure I've even heard him jack Dirt Style scratch records for samples!

      Wicked list J. Some really surprising bits in there. I know what you're saying about Soul Brother #1 but what about Eye Know and Say No Go? I reckon those are both insane.

    • HughPhug

      love this series man, appreciate J sticking around to give some feedback

      Divine Styler was the shit man, think i owned every fuckin Rhyme Syndicate vinyl back when.

    • Abstruse Prude

      Yes, a Sample Flips rundown from Muggs MUST happen. That dude is easily one of the greatest to ever chop a beat.

    • oskamadison

      My top 10's on the way...Yeah, yall gotta bring Muggs through, as well as Pete Rock, Premo, 45 King, Alchemist and the dude responsible for all this madness, of course Marley Marl.

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      Hugh, tell me you own the Hen Gee and Evil E album. I think that may be the only rap album released between 1989 and 1992 that I don't own. And Muggs is so dope. I couldn't think of a particular Muggs sample flip to include in my list, but I'll go on record and say that beat for beat, the first Cypress Hill album is production-wise my favorite rap album ever.

    • oskamadison

      Zone, 2 suggestions: "The Funky Cypress Hill Shit" which flips that "Hector" break or "Something For The Blunted" which is only an interlude but it made that Curtis Mayfield sample even funkier.

    • Abstruse Prude

      Hey, Zone, I'm pretty sure I've got that Hen Gee and Evil E album...I'll confirm when I get home tonight. If I've got it, I'll trade you something for it.

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      I initially mentioned that in the Wrecks n Effect part but took it out. The Cypress & W-n-E uses of the sample show how differently you can freak the same loop. Ultimate Breaks & Beats volumes have so much shit that hasn't been used to its potential.

    • http://djeyce3001@gmail.com Eyce of Eyceurokk

      Yo Man... Excellent job.. My brother Uneek..(Neek) emailed this to me... Keep doing your thing kid.. Hip Hop 2012

    • HughPhug

      J, love the Spinmasters! yep i know that Brothers record is locked in a flight case in my loft right above my head. scratched to fuck but its there.
      if i liked an album i used to go back to the record store & steel empty covers from my local shop so i could blue tack to the wall of my bedroom. i had a rhyme syndicate piece on the wall, it was 4 covers x 4 covers, the outline was all ice-t albums and 12s and stuff like Hen G, Divine Styler, Donald D, Toddy Tee, Hijack, BangO etc in the middle
      it sat right next to my HWA Livin' In A Hoe House poster!

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      Word! Good lookin out! BTW, "As I Reminisce" and "Go Where I send Thee" were my shits, too! @Hugh...wow. I never knew a poster existed for Livin in A Hoe House, but shit, it makes sense!

    • http://djgrandmarquis.com Dj Grand Marquis

      Uneek is a serious producer, would love to hear more of his sound today. Peace to M.A. & EyceuRokk. Give me a holla for that mix tape

    • oskamadison

      Yo, Zone, I'm listenin' to "No Omega" right now and you ain't lyin', Large Pro...excuse me, Eric B. murked those drums. Lyricallly, as much love as Ra gets for "Lyrics Of Fury" , this is right there with it.

    • RJ

      I like that this list happens to have some of my favorite tracks ever.

      Also, it's kinda sad that Ultra never gets the shine as pioneers here in the US as they do in Europe. Heads there are nuts for Ultra as they should be. Even the "Nautilus" flip on "Ced-Gee (Delta Force One) is so gutta.

    • RJ

      oh and oskamadison hit it dead on. "No Omega" is Rakim's best track, hands down.

    • HughPhug

      may not have been a Livin in a Hoe House poster but it had the three ladies (?) wearing fur coats and undies. on the album cover i think only one wore lingerie. shit i forget, but i remember the stains on the poster

    • Spandex Dickhole

      AWWWW MAN! I had forgotten all about that St. Ides commercial and I never realize that was a Steely Dan sample. I love Steely Dan. I want the instrumental. who wants to punch me in my dick?

    • Rick Stellar

      Dont know if you will still respond to this but I thought that jump around noise was a sample taken from prince .

    • Ricky

      "First Day of School" by you was crazy. Idk how intricately you went in on that sample, but that was definitely one of the hardest sample flips i ever heard, def in my top 10 sandwiched between "One Beer" by MF Doom and "Nag Champa" by Dilla off Common's LWFC album.

    • http://govillaingo.com J-Zone

      Good lookin out. Yeah that piano was a bitch to get on beat (the part Shid was rapping on) and I had to chop it into 6 or 7 pieces because it had drums running double time in the background! But the part in the chorus section was a loop.

    • Leon|

      Dj AptOne used the Banbarra break in his edit of Hall & Oates' "I Can't go for that". That break sounds like it's made of gold.

    • Paul H

      Nah, "Jump Around" used a Jr. Walker sax. There's a Lench Mob remix by QDIII that uses a Prince scream from "Get Off." Has a similar timbre.