#FlashbackFridays Week 2: Brenda Russell

For week 2 of this new series, we explore one of my favorite samples and a few songs that have used them. Full post here on Storify.

The Sample: A Little Bit of Love – Brenda Russell

Brenda Russell spent some of her early years in Canada but came back and made her rounds around LA recording with her then-husband Bryan Russell before breaking out to her own solo career.

The loop that is most commonly sampled starts right at the beginning of the track – a groovy piano stab that carries throughout the entire song, with a few breakdowns along the way.

The Classic: Big Pun feat. Joe – Still Not a Player

The Late Big Pun was one of the best rappers to ever touch a mic. His hard-hitting lyrics, tight flows and hefty charm made for some amazing records before his passing due to heart complications from obesity. This cut is off Pun’s debut album Capital Punishment, produced by Knobody and featuring singer Joe.

You can hear the sample start at :38 seconds into the video (or the beginning of the song). Right away you’ll notice that familiar piano stab, but in Knobody’s chop, he doesn’t use the complete loop, but isolates the individual chords in the hits to rework the melody into his own loop. Below you can hear the instrumental alone, compared to Brenda’s loop above.

Can’t give enough props to Big Pun for giving us the eternal line: not a player I just crush a lot.

The Refresh: Ariana Grande – The Way

Ariana Grande is one of my favorite pop artists these days. Putting aside all the bubbly photos she posts of her dog, I just think she has a refreshing personality and a killer vocal range.

The sample starts at :13 seconds into the track and right away you can hear the difference between Big Pun and Ariana Grande’s versions. Unlike in Still Not a Player, The Way uses the original loop from A Little Bit of Love without chopping it up a lot. They have built up the beat around that loop to include a number of different elements like additional piano lines over the top of the sample as they build to the hook.

Be sure to tweet me your thoughts about this week’s #FlashbackFriday @nickcicero – and Subscribe to the Spotify Playlist!

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