The 1966 film The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was a classic western that tells the story of three men who dangerously pursue information about the location of a buried treasure of coins. The three characters, including a young Clint Eastwood as Blondie (“The Good”), go through several different stages in their relationships with each other, always depending on how much they need the other person’s help in ultimately finding the gold. The movie ends with the men in a three-way shootout, leaving one dead, and another left behind hanging by his neck. Sadly enough, the plot somewhat reminds me of the relationships a lot of people maintain in life, and especially in business (and even more especially in the music business). I’ve observed all too many times people that keep close ties with an acquaintance solely because of what they know they need from that person, and often when that need comes to fruition or expires, so does that relationship. It makes me feel good to know that the people I surround myself with have an equal admiration for what we all bring to the table, and are working hard side by side to one day enjoy the gold at the end of the journey… together. The truth to that statement allows me to use that some-what corny analogy with pride. Ha!
In one of the most epic theme song’s composed to date, musical genius Ennio Morricone masterfully arranges a piano, viola, string section, horn section, timpani’s, and breathtaking opera style vocals, amongst other things. “The Ecstasy of Gold”, as it was named appropriately for the movie, was chosen wisely by producer Charlemagne to sample for Jay-Z’s Blueprint 2 album. The record, which held the same name as the album, was undoubtedly one of the standout track’s, and an extremely overlooked piece of the Nas and Jay-Z feud. Charlemagne opened the beat with what sounds like a re-played piano part that runs at a slightly slower rate than the original. Then at 0:21 he brings in the female vocal section, which is laid perfectly over the piano, and chopped and stretched in an arrangement that makes sense in the song’s 4/4 structure. One of the Jay-Z tracks that for some reason you’ll hardly catch anyone talking about. Leave it to us.