Given Terrel Wallace's height (6'5") it's probably easy to understand why he'd adopt the artist alias Tall Black Guy . The Detroit-bred producer's beatmaking skills stand tall as well. While 8 Miles To Moenart , TBG's acclaimed debut LP from last spring showcased his affinity for lush textures and soulfully languid grooves, vinyl 7s like his great James Brown tribute "Pay Me Back My Money" and "Mini Therapy Chops" 45s series and recent Sade homage exhibit his highly impressive talent for flipping samples. Now residing in Norwich UK, he took a moment from across the pond to discuss a few of his favorite examples of the craft.
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10. Little Brother - "Nightime Maneuvers" (ABB, 2003)/"Nighttime Maneuvers (Remix)" (Fast Life, 2005)
Producer: 9th Wonder
Sample Sources: The George Benson Quartet - The Borgia Stick" (Columbia, 1966); Michael Jackson - "Off The Wall" (Epic, 1979)
Tall Black Guy: When I first heard Little Brother's The Listening in 2003 I was totally blown away by the production. Immediately I looked at the CD credits to see who was behind all these cold-ass beats and it said produced by this dude 9th Wonder. From that moment I had to follow everything this dude produced. I can even remember before he became big time, he used to have a page on Soundclick where he would share all his music. The thing I like about a lot of 9th's early stuff is that he was able to put a certain feeling into a sample that wasn't there before. Also just the way he used to chop vocal samples and turn them into melodies. Ewwwww!! 9th is a beast with the chops!! Just check how he freaked "Off The Wall" for the "Nighttime Maneuvers (Remix)."
9. The Alchemist ft. Prodigy, Nina Sky & Illa Ghee - "Hold You Down" (Koch, 2004)
Producer: The Alchemist
Sample Source: Al Kooper - "Love Theme from 'The Landlord'" (Columbia, 1970)
Tall Black Guy: Al killed this sample. I remember a few years ago I peeped a session with him and Prodigy on YouTube. And they were working on a skeleton song and Al was sequencing the chops of this sample on the ASR. I was like, how in the world did he piece the words together??? It was cool to see this song go from the studio stage to what the people hear as the finish product. Dope!!
8. Guru's Jazzmatazz ft. Chaka Khan & Branford Marsalis - "Watch What You Say" (Chrysalis, 1995)
Producer: DJ Premier
Sample Source: Quincy Jones - "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set" (Mercury, 1960)
Tall Black Guy: This is a classic DJ Premier beat. It's just crazy how he is able to sample anything and turn it into a hip-hop masterpiece. The way he chopped the horn and extended the note to complete his loop is crazy. I learned a lot from Premier just listening to how he chops records. Premier is my all-time favorite producer.
7. De La Soul - "Trying People" (Tommy Boy, 2001)
Producer: Deaf 2 U
Sample Source: The 5th Dimension - "Black Patch" (Bell, 1972)
Tall Black Guy: When I first heard this beat, I just knew Jay Dee had produced it, but I was wrong - it was some guy/group named Deaf 2 U. Whoever this is needs to be congratulated for this masterpiece. The way they pieced the vocals together is stoooooooopid!. This is one of those beats I wish I made. [ laughs ]
6. Reflection Eternal - "Memories Live" (Rawkus, 2000)
Sample Source: Soft Machine - "Carol Ann" (CBS, 1973)
Tall Black Guy: This is like one of my favorite Reflcetion Eternal song, so to actually hear the sample source from where Hi-tek sampled from is amazing to me. And really, when you start tracing some of your producers sample sources, it kinda gives you a key to their ear and what they are listening for.
5 - GZA ft. Method Man - "Shadowboxin'" (Geffen, 1995)
Producer: The RZA
Sample Source: Ann Pebbles - "Troubles, Heartaches, and Sadness" (Hi, 1972)
Tall Black Guy: I remember before I actually got into making beats, I would try and make pause tapes of my favorite hip-hop tracks and turn them into instrumentals. "Shawdowboxin'" was one of the first tracks I tried to edit with tape. This is a basic loop of the sample but RZA was great for catching the rights parts that had the most soul in them.
4. Gang Starr - "Zonin'" (Virgin, 2003); Pete Rock ft. Leela James - "No Tears" (BBE, 2004)
Producers: DJ Premier; Pete Rock
Sample Source: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson ft. Leon Ware - "The Junkies" (Paramount, 1974)
Tall Black Guy: I really like how my two favorite producers used the same sample but in two completely different ways. Premier's was little more rugged and raw and Pete's was smooth and melodic. So dope.
3. The Game - "Ya Heard" (Geffen, 2008)
Sample Source: Newcleus - "Jam on It" (Sunnyview, 1984)
Tall Black Guy: Nottz really took it there with this one. He sampled just one note of the bass-line and totally reprogrammed it to make his own melody. I really liked his approach on this one. I use this bass-line technique a lot myself.
2. Hieroglyphics - "You Never Knew" (Hieroglyphics Imperium, 1998)
Sample Source: George Duke - "Seeing You" (MPS, 1976); Patrice Rushen - "Didn't You Know" (Elektra, 1978)
Tall Black Guy: I actually just heard the original of this just recently. Even though it's a loop it's still fresh and I have been looking for this sample for years. Also, I like how A-Plus patched the Patrice Rushen sample over the top and made it sound like it was one song.
1. De La Soul - "Long Island Degrees" (Tommy Boy, 1996)
Producer: De La Soul
Sample Sources: Les McCann - "Before I Rest" (Atlantic, 1974); Aretha Franklin - "It Only Happens (When I Look at You)" (Atlantic, 1975)
Tall Black Guy: After all these years I'm still bugging out to this beat simply because when you listen to the original of Les McCann's "Before I Rest" you really can't hear where the sample is from. You have to listen real closely and reference the beat and the OG to recognize all the parts they used - and also think what made them patch the Aretha joint over the top. Now that's what you call sampling!!!