Harvey Mandel isn’t the most famous guitarist in the world, but he should be more well-known than he is. Mandel was a solo artist and was also a member of the group Canned Heat. He performed with the group for the legendary rock concert Woodstock. He also recorded 2 songs with The Rolling Stones. He then went on to record solo albums dabbling in rock/blues/jazz fusion. Most diggers recognize him for the drum break on “Baby Batter“. His track “Cristo Redentor” from the album of the same name was used for Pharoahe Monch’s track “The Truth“.
Pharoahe Monch‘s debut album was released at the height of underground Hip-Hop and the Rawkus-era. It spawned the hit “Simon Says” which eventually had to be removed due to a sample clearance dispute with the composer of the Godzilla theme. “The Truth” was produced by legend Diamond D and featured Common and label-mate Talib Kweli. Check out the OG to see how Diamond flipped it.
D.J. Rogers got his start in Los Angeles singing and playing piano in church. He’s best known for his radio hit “Say You Love Me“. While the single charted high, it didn’t translate into sales causing a lack of promotion from his label RCA. He ended up ripping them in a magazine article which most likely ruined his career with RCA. Most people would have not discovered D.J. without the use of his track “Faithful to the End” by Kanye West. Kanye used the hook and a loop about 1:30 into the song for Common‘s track “Faithful” off of the Be album. Check it out.
On a side note, D.J. Rogers’ son is also an artist, having written songs for Faith Evans and Carl Thomas. But you may know him for his song “Doggystyle” on the Above the Rim Soundtrack.
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose are best known for their huge hits “Too Late” and “Treat Her Like a Lady” from the early 70′s. They were a family group (4 brothers + 1 sister) out of Florida and only had 2 albums. (3 if you count a “Greatest Hits”). After the smash success of their earlier 2 singles, they had a hard time recapturing a top 10 Billboard spot. When the group disbanded in 1976, Capitol records tried to capitalize (pun intended) on the group’s earlier success and released a Greatest Hits album.
“Since I Found My Baby” appeared on the greatest hits album and was sampled by Kayne West for Common‘s track “Chi-City“. West hard-panned the sample, removing most of the loud horns in order to leave room for Common’s vocals. Check it out.
The first Hip-Hop movie “Wildstyle” doesn’t need an introduction. Most of you on this site know about the classic video from the early 80′s featuring early examples of MC’ing, DJ’ing, breaking, and graffiti. The soundtrack has been sampled many a time, which features live performances and scratching. However, the instrumentals used in the movie are much harder to come by.
Digging legend has it, that a few copies of the break beats used during the live performances and DJ sets were limited to those involved in the film. They were thought to be “unreleased”. The LP pictured above was released in 1998 from the UK. The LP claimed to be the “first” official release of the instrumentals from the film. However, some of the breaks (not from the soundtrack) were sampled before 1998. This includes the “Aight Chill” interlude on GangStarr’s Hard to Earn and frequent freestyles over “Down By Law“. My guess is, either a bootleg of the instrumentals existed or someone is a digging legend and actually tracked down one of the copies from the film.
The man behind the instrumentals is Chris Stein. Stein was co-founder and guitarist of the famous punk/new wave band Blondie who was cool with Fab 5 Freddy, also involved in the film. I’m assuming they all met while recording “The Rapture“. His track “Gangbusters” has been sampled by both Common (featuring De La Soul) and AZ featuring Ghostface and Raekwon. Check it out.
Jimmy Ponder was a Jazz guitarist down with the rest of fusion guys from CTI. His 1976 album “Illusions” features some familiar names such as Ronnie Foster, Sonny Burke, Ron Carter, and Johnny Pate. The nine-minute, tranquil cut “Jennifer” features a sample chopped up for Common‘s “Invocation“.
The track was produced by the legend and long time buddy of Common, No I.D. The sample kicks in at around 2:37 into the song, if you don’t feel like listening to all nine minutes. There is also a video for , which is ironic in the fact that it shows musicians playing the beat when it was obviously sampled. Check it out.
In 1994, the rapper formerly known as Common Sense was gaining popularity rapidly from his singles “Resurrection” and “I Used to Love H.E.R.“. In order to keep the momentum going, in 1995, his record label re-released the single to “Resurrection” and added 2 new versions, both produced by the one and only Large Professor. Both versions had a totally different sound from the original but were equally as dope. Large Pro used Spirit’s “Ice” for one of the versions. Spirit was a progressive rock group and has several hot joints among their discography.