Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Al Green et Jay-Z

Sorry for leaving you guys hanging last week with a Sample-less Saturday.  I threw up an extra post on my site to make amends. Check it out here and enjoy.  Thanks for your continued support of this weekly tradition.

The same day New York City witnessed the fall of the Twin Towers, Jay-Z released his masterpiece The Blueprint. Facing two criminal charges, one for gun possession, the other for assault, as well as beefs with Nas, Prodigy, and Jadakiss, the odds were certainly stacked against Hov. However, as he is known to do, Jay triumphed with his back against the wall and set a new bar for any rapper dropping an album for the next decade. The Blueprint sold 426,000 copies in one of the most chaotic weeks in American history, eventually went double platinum, received an “XXL” rating in XXL Magazine, and a “5 Mic” review in The Source. A certified success.

One of the greatest poets ever to pick up a mic released his magnum opus in 2001. One retirement and one un-retirement later, it’s still his finest hour.” -Entertainment Weekly

Production wise, The Blueprint is a pure gem, and one of the most perfectly constructed hip-hop albums of all time. During the late 90’s, producers shied away from using samples in their music due to copyright issues and the popularity of synth heavy beats grew.  The Blueprint brought back the sampling sound and established Kanye West and Just Blaze as two of the best producers in the game. On “Momma Loves Me”, the lesser known Bink goes in with a classic Al Green sample and some brilliant drum programming.  I really like how the first eight bars of the record are laid out. First we get to hear the drums on their own, made up of a banging kick and rimshot combo plus a deep 808 every other bar to rattle the system.  Echoes of Al Green chops come in to play on the fifth bar, and then on the seventh we hear the chop that really defines the feel of the beat.  On the vocal end, Hov recalls how he got to where he is and thanks everybody that has helped him along the way, a fitting ending to an epic song-by-song journey through the mind of Jay-Z. (K. Casey/P. Walsh)

Al Green – Free At Last

Jay-Z – Momma Loves Me

via Kevin Casey Music