Friday, August 13, 2010

Long Red

Ok, so after the previous post, I feel that I have to do a little retrospective on this song that I seem to see sampled in every hip-hop track ever recorded: "Long Red" by Mountain. I, for one, had never heard of the band before, but it seems they were a relatively marginal, early 70's rock band. Using such a song is strange, first because it wasn't one of their hits and second because its rare to see rock music sampled in hip-hop when the artist isn't attempting a rap-rock crossover. Third, and most importantly, all of the songs only sample the intro of a single live version of "Long Red". So why? What's the deal? Well first of all, its a really sweet and unique beat. It has a sort of funky, syncopated feel and I imagine its rare to have bass kicks coupled with an audience of thousands clapping along. Second of all, once one producer uses it, that opens up the gates to all those who hear it and want to use it in their own way. I love how such a small, inconsequencial snippet of sound has become so pervasive just because of this style of music culture. It's incredibly organic, in a way, and it really adds a lot of depth to the genre. When J Dilla used it as the main sample on "Stepson of the Clapper", he wasn't only making an amazing track but he was making a comment, a homage to a long tradition.

I would really like to know who used it first. The earliest I can seem to see is 1986's "Eric B is President" from Eric B. and Rakim's Paid in Full. Anyways, here are all the songs I've heard that sample this track, in my best chronological order. I've written where the sample is located under the video. If I don't list it, it should be pretty obvious:

1:19 and drums




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