2Pac – Changes (Vijay & Sofia Zlatko, Kasùal Remix)

One of my favourite studies is called The Marshmallow Test. If you are not familiar, it was a test done in the ’60s that tested 600 children but putting them individually in a room and placed a marshmallow in front of them. The child was told they could either eat the one marshmallow or wait 15 minutes and the person doing the testing would give them another marshmallow so they can have two.

The theory coming from this being those children who were able to wait longer for twice the marshmallow had better self control and displays the ability to delay gratification. Basically they could restrain impulse.

The test was redone a few years ago in the same structure, adding an encounter with an adult who would offer art supplies. Some of the adults were reliable to bring supplies and some weren’t. The outcome supporting the idea that children could actually be using rational decision making, if they had an unreliable encounter, it would likely happen again so there was no need to wait for the second marshmallow.

The takeaway I got from this is empathy.

Honestly, I read the report on the original, which is awesome (if I believed I could retire studying sociology or anthropology for my career, I would leave advertising yesterday). And that is what I got from it. I do have good self control and honestly felt like that is something I harvested, I gained. Perhaps I did. But I also looked at people who couldn’t have it, as, I don’t know, less strong? Because it is hard, but some people seem to be able to handle it better than others.

And then I read this study revisited (in 2012, 50 years later) and I just got more from that. You never really know what the other person was raised with or dealt with. You don’t know when they are having a bad day or someone lied to them or let them down. I get that, you grab what you can then.

And that is fine too.

I really, really love hip hop for this. There is this great tone and feeling from songs, Changes being an obvious fit for this, that take a look at society and how we are viewing people and not allowing the full back story to come out to see why they did something, what they believe. Perhaps their logic and action makes more sense than others, or mine.


2Pac – Old School (Cookin Soul Remix)

“What more can I say? I wouldn’t be here today if the old school didn’t pave the way.”

Original hip-hop always seemed to pay respect to those who influenced them. Calling tributes and references to those who came before, the people who they looked up to or the people who were always there along the way. It is interesting — you generally don’t see that in any other genre of music. Influences are usually noted in style rather than a literal call out. Even with so many forms of connection now, there is a growing distance between people and more of an internal focus it seems. But that’s what’s special about the old school hip-hop. They always had time for a call.

An argument was made recently that hip-hop, which used samples from older tracks like doo-wop or classic jazz, was able to bridge that divide that some people first had with the rap. The roughness of it, was once thought of as something that most people couldn’t relate to. But those little snip-its in tracks or a familiar sound backing up even the roughest of vocals, in this case jazz to 2Pac, somehow creates that connection.

This track from 2Pac, remixed by Cookin Soul is a power song. The jazzy beat by Cookin Soul is inspiring. The Spanish DJs have been producing tracks since 2005, but this (and there is also a great one they did with Guru‘s Lifesaver) has to be one of the best productions like this for a hip-hop track. Starting with the horns and punchy percussions, they have somehow made the original jam even sexier.

The verse that comes up around 2:28 is it for me. The opening as well. But at that moment in the track, the vocals are rough. You feel the passion. It is like the original power ballad. And when it seeps in through your headphones, you feel energised.

At this moment, I would like to make a call out to good productions. This is the kind of must that inspires me and keeps me hungry for it. I would rap that if I could.

2Pac – Old School (Cookin Soul Remix)


Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Joe Cocker et 2Pac

I’ve never dropped “California Love” at a party and gotten a negative reaction, and I’ve probably played it a few hundred times over the last ten years.  There’s something undeniably special about this record that made it 2Pac’s most well-known of his career.  It was originally recorded with three verses from Dr. Dre, and wasn’t until 2Pac heard the raw session that he asked to be put on the song.  To add to the popularity of the song was the Hype Williams produced video, with a futuristic theme inspired by the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  The big budget visual for the song pretty much made its way onto every all time Best Rap Video list.

I was surprised to learn that Dr. Dre only produced two tracks on Pac’s double disc All Eyez on Me. When broken down, it is pretty clear that his use of various samples on “California Love” is one of the greatest ever.  The first is Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman”, which provides the main groove for the beat; a jumpy piano and horn loop.  The “California, knows how to party…” hook idea is taken from the 1:09 mark of the ultra funky record “West Coast Poplock” by Ronnie Hudson & The Street People.  Lastly, the “shake it, shake it baby” chant is sung by Roger Troutman through a vocoder, where he is actually just interpolating similar riffs that he performed on his band Zapp’s single “Dance Floor.”  How Dr. Dre successfully created a record that seamlessly blended the highlights of all these classics is hard to understand, and in the end just one of the production credits that makes him the legend that he is.

2Pac ft. Dr. Dre – California Love

Joe Cocker – Woman To Woman

Ronnie Hudson & The Street People – West Coast Poplock

Zapp – Dance Floor

via KevinCaseyMusic


Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – The O’Jays et 2Pac

When All Eyez on Me came out in 1996, I was in middle school, and was still getting familiar with hip hop as a genre.  For years, all I listened to was the east coast heavy hitters of the time, and it took me a while to really give Pac the proper attention.  I still consider myself underexposed to Pac’s music, which is my own fault.  I guess the growing up in New York thing left me coast-bias deep down. Although it took me a while, I eventually gave All Eyes on Me the attention it deserves, and I understand why it is so highly acclaimed.  It’s not that other rappers don’t touch on the same subjects as Pac, it’s just that they don’t do it nearly as well.  On “Life Goes On,” the subject is losing a close friend, that friend being his lifetime partner Kato.  I listened to this song regularly after my boy DaVaughn died a few years back.

Life as a baller, alcohol and booty calls, we used to do them as adolescents do you recall.

The beat was made by Pac’s long time producer Johnny “J”, who produced a total of ten tracks on the double disc All Eyez on Me. He used various parts and loops of the opening sequence of “Brandy” by The O’Jays to create the basic framework, but elevated the track with live guitar licks and smooth female vocal riffs.  Exactly seven months after the album release, Pac was gunned down.  A few years ago, Johhny “J” died in a Los Angeles prison in an apparent suicide.  With both producer and artist passed away, the music certainly goes on, as this record manages to stand out amongst Pac’s large catalogue of music.

Sample Saturday is brought to you by Kevin Casey Music.

The O’Jays – Brandy

2Pac – Life Goes On