Like nine cans of shaving powder, that’s funky

Strictly about the west coast heaviness and British rap this week. Another song indebted to one of the most magnificent sample sources of all time. Why don’t we celebrate it a bit here as well?

Even though there are plenty of unimaginative interpolations of “Funky Worm,” I think its uses across coasts and styles of Hip-Hop coupled with the versatility of the sample are further proof (is this really necessary in 2010) that sampling is an art unto itself. I’m not sure I have much to add to this argument that hasn’t already been said, but I think about it constantly in my own production and when people don’t recognize samples.

The fact that Usher’s “Little Freak” makes use of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” is partially what’s had me thinking about this matter of sampling-as-art-form lately. I have a no-sampling Stevie Wonder policy that I have enforced throughout some 8 years of beat making, but if you’re going to do it at least do it with a bit more gusto and creativity than just jacking the melody from one of the man’s greatest hits for another failed booty-shake anthem (speaking of which: doesn’t Usher feel horribly outdated with his most recent batch of songs? Has R n’ B really moved that far away from the man’s wheelhouse? Am I missing something?).

All that said, “Black Superman” makes “Funky Worm” recognizable only as a sound, an instrument pitch shifted and chopped into something entirely new and equally enjoyable, if you’re a fan of that west coast sound (as I most certainly am). The beauty of sampling. Take it in with a dose of that gangsta shit.

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