The co-founder, along with Diamond D and Lord Finesse, of the revered Diggin’ In the Crates crew, Showbiz is a true real-deal-hip-hop hero. While his beats have held down classics for the likes of Finesse, Big L, KRS-One, Fat Joe, Big Pun, and Sadat X amongst others, it’s Show’s enduring partnership with fellow Bronxite AG (a/k/a, Andre the Giant) that’s provided the greatest vehicle for his production prowess. A brain-staining synthesis of chirpy horns and brooding bass, Showbiz & AG’s 1992 debut LP Runaway Slave remains one of the most adventurously out yet sonically hardcore hip-hop albums of all-time (its worthy follow-ups, Goodfellas and Full Scale, are none too shabby either). With the recent 20th(!) anniversary of Slave‘s release nearly coinciding with a brand new Showbiz & AG album (the forthcoming Mugshot Music) we could not resist the chance to coax a favorite sample flips list from one of our longtime favorite beatsmiths.
HIT UP THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK OUT SHOWBIZ’S FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS
1. Ed O.G & Da B.U.L.L.D.O.G.S. - "I Got to Have It" (PWL, 1991)
Producers: Joe Mansfield, Special K, Teddy Ted
Sample Source: Bohannon – “Singing a Song For My Mother” (Dakar, 1973)
Showbiz: The reason why I chose this is ’cause of the way they caught [the sample]. You know how a loop usually go, 1-2-3-4? They caught it on the 4th count and then started it back around. That was the craziest shit. That’s what had me buggin’. It was definitely inspirational – it was a different way to sample. The sax part just made it all better because that was the turnaround, the switch.
2. Brand Nubian - "All For One" (Elektra, 1991)
Producer: Brand Nubian
Sample Source: James Brown – “Can Mind” (King, 1971)
Showbiz: Had no idea at all [this was James Brown]. It sounded nothing like James Brown. And I’d never seen that album [the sample is from, Sho Is Funky Down Here] until after they used it. It’s hard to catch the part [they sampled]. You will miss it. It’s a short part. They had to listen to whole record to catch that part. And [when they made this song] it’s possible that someone might have been high. Ya knawmean? [laughs]
I know, because the whole Runaway Slave album was done with a lot of weed. Sometimes [that will help] if you just listening to a whole record and there’s just a little part that just stick out, and then you can take and make it something hot. Diamond and I was in my house and we was smoking some weed and I was playing old jazz records and we just let the records play out. And that’s how I came across the sample for “Party Groove,” the Brother Jack McDuff joint, ya knawmean? But that’s what DJs did in the ’70s and ’80s did – they just listened to the record and they took the best part, and they just cut it. So instead of cutting it we sampled it and looped it. It’s the same thing, it’s the same process.
3. Jadakiss - "We Gonna Make It" (Ruff Ryders, 2001)
Sample Source: Samual Jonathan Johnson – “My Music” (Columbia, 1978)
Showbiz: It’s a loop. But it’s a ill loop. It’s a ill loop, man. I mean, [after] hearing the original record I don’t think I woulda sampled it. Because it had a lot goin’ on with percussion and all a that. I don’t know if I woulda done it. But Al hooked it up crazy. Probably a lot of weed goin’ in there too. [laughs] Yeah, probably was.
4. Showbiz & AG - "Next Level (Nyte Time Mix) (Payday, 1995)
Producer: DJ Premier
Sample Source: Maynard Ferguson – “Mr. Mellow” (Columbia, 1977)
Showbiz: My man Preem – he caught a body with that one, right there. I just remember giving him the song to remix and he just took it to the next level, ya knawmean? In the beginning [the way] I had the [song], it was off. So when [Premier] tried to program the beat it didn’t match with the song. [That's why] in the beginning of the record he added these drums that come in before it says, “Showbiz!” He had to match that up to make it come in right. I love the sample. Once again I didn’t know what it was until afterwards. The stuff I had on [Maynard Ferguson] didn’t have a clear loop like that. I never caught nothing offa Maynard like that.
The [original and the remix] were just two different vibes. I like both of them just the same. His vibe is just different, he just took it somewhere else. And that’s what remixes is about. You supposed to take it somewhere else. Both of them, of course, was based on jazz records. But mines was more jazzier. His was more laid back gutter.
5. A Tribe Called Quest - "Butter" (Jive, 1991)
Producer: A Tribe Called Quest
Sample Sources: Weather Report – “Young & Fine” (Columbia, 1978)
Gary Bartz – “Gentle Smiles” (Prestige, 1975)
Showbiz: I remember hearing this [for the first time]: Diamond D bought me Tribe Called Quest’s album, Low End Theory. And he played it in Jazzy Jay’s studio while we was in there working. He put the cassette on (that’s cassette days!) and he was like, “Yo – listen to Tribe album.” After I heard “Butter”… I mean, I’d never heard anyone sample that type of music before, basically. The way the bass line was going and the instrumentation, it was just a new way of hearing music. It just took me somewhere else.
The Weather Report [sample] – aw, man! That was crazy. Back then bass-lines would just be groovy. But that was kind of spaced out. I’d never heard anybody have that type of loop. [It] definitely [influenced me]. You could hear it all in [Runaway Slave]. I was trying to find the weirdest shit I could find! I was like, yo, they raised the bar. Now you just can’t have no regular loop. You gotta have something outrageous. It raised the bar. And that was what it was all about back then, everybody raising the bar.
That [Gary Bartz sample] was hot too. I actually thought it was part of the same record [as Weather Report] when I first heard it. But nah, they flipped it. It goes together so well.
6. Lord Finesse - "You Know What I'm About" (Sire, 1992)
Producer: Lord Finesse
Sample Source: Hoyt Curtin – “The New Scooby Doo Movies” (CBS, 1972)
Showbiz: Of course, I’m a have to put my brother Ness up there with the Scooby Doo joint. The way he flipped that – gotta rock that. When he told me he was gonna do it I was lookin’ at him like he was crazy. But the way he put it together and chopped the drums, man, he just made it real mean. And then put the Rakim joint – the hook [“Knockin’ n*ggas off, knockin’ n*ggas out”], that was real crazy. Just to even think about using [Scooby Doo] was just something else to me. And he pulled it off.
7. Fabolous - "Breathe" (Atlantic, 2004)
Producer: Just Blaze
Sample Source: Supertramp – “Crime of the Century” (A&M, 1974)
Showbiz: If you listen to the Supertramp it’s spaced out between the piano riffs. [Just Blaze] took like four different pieces and he put ’em together to make it sound like one loop. Then he took the screams and put those on top of it. Like yo, he really bodied it. Some people loop and some people can create a whole new song with a piece of a sample. And Just is good at doing that. That’s the cloth we all cut from so we all respect Just Blaze.
8. Black Rob - "Whoa!" (Bad Boy, 1999)
Sample Source: David McWilliams – “Days of Pearly Spencer” (Major Minor, 1967)
Showbiz: That “Whoa” joint was crazy because of how [Buckwild] flipped it. It was such a simple sample, but the way he put it together and the way he put the drums together and the way Rob put that song together, it’s just a [perfect] marriage. It was something that if I had ran across that record I probably wouldn’t have used it. So I kinda respect people ears that hear things that I can’t.
9. Public Enemy - "Rebel Without a Pause" (Def Jam, 1987)
Producer: The Bomb Squad
Sample Source: The JB’s – “The Grunt” (King, 1970)
Showbiz: The first time I heard this, I was walking into a jam. That’s when they was jamming outside, back in ’87, ’88. And I remember I was walking from one part of Forest Projects to another part. And you could hear the music from like a block away. And I didn’t even understand what it was. I’m just like, what is this?!? [And someone said], nah, that’s the new Public Enemy joint. I was like, wow! I had to rush to go get that.
I had never heard nothing like it – just the shock alone of hearing something that loud and rowdy. Of course, Public Enemy did it [before] with “Public Enemy No. 1.” But I’m really putting [“Rebel”] in my list because it just brought me to a time when Public Enemy was just on top of their game as far as being creative. And the way Bomb Squad did “Rebel” – that’s in a class by itself.
10. Marley Marl ft. Craig G - "Droppin' Science" (Cold Chillin', 1988)
Producer: Marley Marl
Sample Source: Lou Donaldson – “Who’s Makin’ Love (To Your Old Lady)” (Blue Note, 1969)
Showbiz: I’m just going with the records that kinda had me buggin’ – listening to them and saying, this is a new sound for music. The Lou Donaldson joint came out before anybody was using jazz records. Everybody was still using funk and soul back when Marley Marl was producing. He used a jazz record, and he made it funky – threw the 808s and everything behind it. It’s funky but I wouldn’t have ever guessed it was a jazz record. I found out he used Lou Donaldson [for “Droppin’ Science”] years later – after Gang Starr and Tribe and them was using jazz. But that was in the ’80s when Marley used that!
If you listen to my remix for [Finesse’s] “Return of the Funky Man” and all that – those are jazz records but I used ’em to try to make ’em hard and funky and dark. So through [“Droppin’ Science”] I kinda got an idea that jazz records don’t have to be smooth. They can also be dark. So I basically took a page from that book right there. You can make jazz sound any which way you wanna make it sound. It’s just the parts that you take and what you do with it.
HONORABLE MENTION: D.I.T.C. - "Day One" (D.I.T.C., 1997)
Producer: Diamond D
Sample Source: Oliver Sain – “On the Hill” (Vanessa, 1971)
Showbiz: I ain’t wanna be too much with the whole D.I. thing. But “Day One” – which Diamond did – that was hot. When we was doing the [D.I.T.C.] album I used to just have people come in the studio, like Big L and them, just come in and do songs, just to record. I told Diamond, yo, I wanna have a joint with all of us on it. He was like, okay. And then when he played that thing there? Oh, man!
Finesse didn’t wanna rock it at first. Finesse was like, nah, man, I ain’t getting on that! I guess Finesse was used to b-boy shit and that was more jazzy smooth, [even though] the drums was hard. But Finesse wasn’t used to really rhyming to [stuff like] that. I’m just givin’ my [opinion]. But after he heard everybody flip it, then he jumped on and it made it what it was. The way Diamond hooked up the beat it’s a chop. It ain’t like a [loop]. He caught it from a certain part. Same way they did with the other joints I was telling you about. He caught it from a nice part. It was definitely one of the nicest samples I ever heard somebody flip, especially from my camp.