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Free Samples Playlist

With last week’s article on DJ Khaled marking the end of Free Samples, here’s a playlist featuring some of the best tracks from the series. Thanks to everyone who followed this project throughout the summer!
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Spirit in the Dark” by Aretha Franklin
School Spirit” by Kanye West
Gold Digger” by Kanye West
I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles
Hotline Bling” by Drake
Cha Cha” by D.R.A.M.
Do You Mind (Crazy Cousinz Remix)” by Kyla
Glow” by Drake feat. Kanye West
Devotion (Live)” by Earth, Wind & Fire
i” by Kendrick Lamar
That Lady” by The Isley Brothers
Loyalty” by Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna
24 Karat Magic” by Bruno Mars
Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” by Jay-Z
I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
Maria Maria” by Carlos Santana feat. Wyclef Jean
Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller

– Matthew Martino

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Free Samples: How DJ Khaled Dominated the Summer

 

While we can all thank Justin Bieber for teaching us how to speak Spanish this summer, DJ Khaled also had his fair share of success these past few months. The Miami producer’s tenth studio album Grateful debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and has remained in the top four for the past six weeks. The album has now been certified gold. His smash hit “Wild Thoughts” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards including “Video of the Year.” If that wasn’t enough, the chart-topping “I’m the One” featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo and Lil Wayne has now been certified three times platinum. So basically, if you wanted to sum up Summer 2k17 in a sentence or two, the words “DJ Khaled” would definitely be in there — along with “hangover” (but maybe that’s just me).

too short“For Free” feat. Drake (2016)
Song Sampled: “Blow the Whistle” by Too Short (2006)

The lead single off Khaled’s previous album Major Key, “For Free” samples lyrics and cadences from Too Short’s “Blow the Whistle” and interpolates Akinyele’s 1996 track “Fuck Me For Free.” In addition, one of Drake’s verses references Kendrick Lamar’s song “For Free? (Interlude)” off To Pimp a Butterfly with the line, “and like your boy from Compton said/You know this dick ain’t free.” The track is the fourth collaboration between DJ Khaled and Drake, following “No New Friends,” “I’m On One,” and “Fed Up.” Khaled claims he received Drake’s second verse while shooting the album cover for Major Key. He said, “I had a real lion on the album cover. I was sitting on the throne, and the lion was right here. Drake texts me with the second verse done. Mind you, I’m shooting my album cover, the lion is in front of me, and I’m on the throne. I swear on everything this is a true story. I even snapped and said, “The Drake vocals came in!” And the lion roars. This is all real. I’m not lying! You can go document and go find this. I thought that was so powerful and spiritual and amazing. I couldn’t sleep at night until it was done.”

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“To the Max” feat. Drake (2017)
Song Sampled: “Gus Get Em Right” by Jay-O (2015), among others

DJ Khaled began teasing the song on his Instagram, asking if “the Drake vocals came in yet,” attempting to recreate the success of their previous collaboration. Most of the “To The Max” production is a sped up sample of Jay-O’s “Gus Get Em Right,” which is heard prominently in the intro, chorus and outro of the song. The track also contains a sample of T2’s “Heartbroken” and sounds very similar to DJ Jayhood’s 2007 remix of the song, which the New Jersey beat-maker claims has “the exact same chops.” He wrote on Twitter: “I don’t want to say Drake DJ Khaled stole my ‘Heartbroken’ track.. I don’t own the sample but they were inspired.” Jayhood then went on to say that he respects both Drake and Khaled and that there is no “bad blood.” In an interview with The Fader, Jayhood said, “It was definitely sampled from the version I did. The chops are not the same from the original, it’s from the one I did. My drop is even in there.” T2 later confirmed that he was asked by Khaled’s team if they could sample the song, and although he agreed, he claims he hadn’t officially signed anything to approve the sample. “That was a bit of a surprise,” he said upon hearing the track. “I was not aware it was going to come out. I need to speak to people there [his publishers Sony/ATV] to get a clearer picture.”

 

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 “Shining” feat. Beyoncé and Jay-Z (2017)
Song Sampled: “Dionne” by Osunlade (2013)

Released as a surprise single right after the 2017 Grammy Awards came to a close, this track samples “Dionne” by Osunlade, which itself uses Dionne Warwick’s 1970 tune “Walk the Way You Talk.” DJ Khaled came up with the idea for the song while at a restaurant a week after his son was born: “I was at Nobu eating and I heard this sample. I put my phone up and I Shazam’d it [saying] ‘Man, this is my single!’ [Then] we went in the studio and we flipped it. So we sampled it and we chopped it up […] and it ended up being a masterpiece.” After signing a management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation early last year, Khaled presented the beat to the rapper at the entertainment company’s Christmas party:

“I just got to do ‘I Got The Keys’ with him, so I ain’t wanna ask him for another record;          but I knew the record was so dope so I’m like ‘Let me play it for you.’ And the first 20,
30 seconds he was bopping his head, I seen him already rhyming in his head. And after I   played him the record I was like ‘Yo, I know the answer is “No,” but if you wanna play this to your wife, man, that’d be dope.’ I remember I was at the Roc Nation Christmas party [and] Beyonce came up to me and she was like ‘Yo, I like that record.’ I damn near   passed out! I was just speechless […] So, what happened was the night before the Grammys, Jay-Z hit me up and said ‘Record done.’ Meanwhile I was wondering if they were even gonna record it. So I had kept that beat and that vibe and I didn’t touch it. I was gonna hope that, you know what, my prayers are gonna come true. [It was] meant to be. I knew they liked it, but I didn’t want to keep asking them because they’re two big people. I just let the vibe take control.”

Khaled and his team then mixed, mastered, cleared the samples and got Jay and Bey’s approval all in less than 24 hours before dropping the record. Sounds like a Christmas miracle if you ask me.


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”Wild Thoughts” feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller (2017)
Song Sampled: “Maria Maria” by Santana feat. Wyclef Jean (1999)

A serious contender for this year’s Song of the Summer, “Wild Thoughts” heavily samples the main riff from Carlos Santana’s 1999 smash hit “Maria Maria” featuring Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean. During Grateful‘s recording, Khaled invited Tiller to his house for dinner and played him the initial demo of “Wild Thoughts,” asking him if he could do something with the song. Tiller returned home, quickly recorded his verse and sent it to the producer who used it on the final recording. As for Santana’s reaction to the track, the latin guitarist said he was “honoured” that Khaled, Rihanna and Tiller “shared this summer vibe with the world.” He went on to say that “there is a reason that the infectious groove/theme that Wyclef and I created on ‘Maria Maria’ still resonates today. It speaks to the heart. DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson take that vibe and bring it to a new dimension with ‘Wild Thoughts,’ but the groove and essence of the song is still intact” — which is exactly what a good sample should do.

– Matthew Martino

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Free Samples: Jay-Z’s R-Rated Gospel

Jay-Z’s long anticipated thirteenth studio album 4:44 finally arrived late last month and it has already topped the Billboard 200 chart. After a four-year hiatus, the LP is getting high praises from the hip-hop community and reminding listeners of all genres why Hov is without a doubt one of the greatest rappers of all time. Last month Jay also made history by becoming the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame (which he could not attend because Beyoncé just happened to be giving birth to their twins). So, it’s safe to say that Jay-Z’s summer is probably going a lot better than yours.

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“Dead Presidents” (1996)
Song Sampled: “A Garden of Peace” by Lonnie Liston Smith (1983), among others

The breakout single off Jay’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, this track was certified gold just a few short months after its release. The song samples Lonnie Liston Smith’s “A Garden of Peace” for the main melody and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Oh My God (remix)” for its percussion, while the chorus is a sample of Nas rapping “I’m out for dead presidents to represent me,” from his 1994 song “The World Is Yours (Tip Mix).” Nas was originally invited to perform the chorus for Jay-Z and appear in the track’s music video, but he declined and thus began their public feud. Nas confronted Jay in his track “Stigmatic Freestyle” stating, “You show off, I count dough off when you sample my voice.” Jay-Z then responded in the song “Takeover” with the lines: “So yeah, I sampled your voice; you was usin’ it wrong/You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song/And you ain’t get a coin nigga you was gettin’ fucked then/I know who I paid God, Serchlite Publishing.” Their feud officially ended in 2005 at Jay-Z’s I Declare War concert, when they performed “Dead Presidents II” together.

annie jay z“Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” [1998]

Song Sampled: “It’s the Hard Knock Life” from Annie (1982)

This is undoubtedly the song that skyrocketed Jay-Z to fame. It samples a high-pitched version of the musical number “It’s the Hard Knock Life” from the 1982 film Annie, which is fitting as Jay raps about his rags-to-riches story. The song peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999. Of the track’s inspiration, he says: “[One of my sister’s name is Andrea], but we call her Annie. That’s how the Annie sample came about. When I seen that on TV, I was like, ‘Annie?’ And then, I watched the movie. […] Any person that goes from ashy to classy or, you know, is from the orphanage or the projects—it’s pretty similar.” Jay later wrote in his memoir Decoded that in order to clear the sample, he sent a letter to the song’s copyright holders, lying about how he had seen the musical on Broadway as a child and written a competition-winning essay on it at school.

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“Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” (2001) 

Song Sampled: “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 (1969)

The first collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West, this track prominently features a sample of “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5. The song’s main hook, “H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A” uses the -izzle language code (which was invented by E-40 and popularized by Snoop Dogg) to spell out “H.O.V.A.” in reference to one of Jay-Z nickname “Hova,” which is play on God’s name (as in “Jehovah”, aka “Yahweh” aka “Hashem”). Jay debuted the song during the 2001 BET Awards and producer Kanye West explained that it was one of the defining moments in his life:

“I was on the phone with my girl, and she just started screaming, and my two-way                  [pager] started blowing up. I was just thinking, ‘Damn.’ That was like the time in the                [movie] ‘Five Heartbeats’ when they heard their song on the radio and they start running      through the crib. If they ever do a movie about me, that’s one of the spots they’re gonna      have to put in the movie. This song is really gonna change my life […] Until an artist of          [Jay-Z’s] caliber co-signs for you, the industry doesn’t believe in your skills. Now they              know.”

Kanye referenced this track on his 2004 song “Through the Wire” about his near-fatal car accident: “That right there could drive a sane man berserk/Not to worry, Mr. H-to-the-Izzo’s back to wi-zerk.”

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01:  Photo of Billy Squier  (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

UNSPECIFIED – JANUARY 01: Photo of Billy Squier (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“99 Problems” (2004)
Song Sampled: “The Big Beat” by Billy Squier (1980), among others

In Decoded, Jay writes that he used “99 Problems” to confuse critics by hiding a deeper meaning behind its superficial chorus. The hook “I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one” was taken from the Ice-T single “99 Problems” off his album Home Invasion (1993). Jay’s track was produced by legendary beat-maker Rick Rubin, who provided Hov with a guitar riff and stripped-down beat derived from “The Big Beat” by Billy Squier, “Long Red” by Mountain, and “Get Me Back On Time” by Wilson Pickett. “The guitars were a combination of old records that were sped up or slowed down, scratched in, or in some cases, we played guitars and then made a disc and scratched them in with a digital turntable. It was all processed and made new,” Rubin said of the track’s production. He recalled that it was comedian Chris Rock who was the inspiration for the song. Rock told Rubin about Ice-T’s track and its catchy hook and was convinced that Jay could make an even better song out of it. Said Rubin, “I told that to Jay, and he wrote the song based on the title. The idea was, it’s the opposite song. In the Ice-T original song, it’s all about the girls. Our idea was, ‘OK, this will be a song with the same hook about the problems.'”

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“Ni**as in Paris” with Kanye West (2011) 

Audio Sampled: Dialogue from film Blades of Glory (2007)

Fun fact: Will Ferrell is featured in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time. Inspired by Kanye West’s travels in Paris, the iconic song’s production was originally offered to rapper Pusha T by producer Hit-Boy. Pusha turned it down, claiming “it sounds like a video game. Get that shit out of here!” Then Jay and Ye got their hands on it and the track went platinum just under two months after it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, just shy of two months after the album’s release. The smash hit also racked in the trophies, winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. During the Watch The Throne tour, the two would perform this track multiple times at each concert. The crowds loved it. When they reached Paris, it was performed 12 times in a row. Talk about balling hard.

– Matthew Martino

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Free Samples: Kendrick Lamar’s Poetry and Politics

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I decided to take a page out of Kendrick Lamar’s book with this article. Much like the Compton rapper did with his fourth studio album, DAMN., after completing my first three pieces for CKUT, I took more time than usual to craft the latest instalment of Free Samples. (The fact that I was on vacation for the past two weeks with limited wifi access obviously had nothing to do with it). However, unlike DAMN., I doubt this article will go on to win a slew of awards, sell millions of copies, or leave a lasting impact on its genre and pop culture as a whole. Just a hunch.

Known for his clever lyricism and bold subject matter, Kendrick has sampled everything from a 2015 Fox News report to Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” making him one of the most unique and prominent voices in rap today.

 

alicia keys“Compton State of Mind” (2009)
Song Sampled: “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys (2009)

Almost a parody of sorts, Kendrick puts his own spin on Jay-Z’s love letter to the Big Apple. Borrowing the beat and hook from the smash hit featuring Alicia Keys on vocals, Kendrick paints a gritty picture of the notorious LA suburb, while also making it clear that he’s “just a good kid hoping [he] can spread love.” Kendrick reworks the chorus of Jay-Z’s track from “In New York/Concrete jungle where dreams are made of/There’s nothing you can’t do/Now you’re in New York/These streets will make you feel brand new/Big lights will inspire you” to “Compton, concrete jungle where dreams are made of/There’s nothin’ you can’t do/Now you’re in Compton/These streets will make you or break you/Expire or inspire you.” Continue reading

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Free Samples: Drake’s Late Night Grooves

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It’s not every day that a record set by Michael Jackson is broken by a fellow Canadian — or by anyone, for that matter. But that’s exactly what Drake did at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. Drizzy took home 13 trophies, beating the previous record of 11 nominations in a single year held by the King of Pop. Not a bad night.

Drake’s signature fusion of hip-hop and R&B, along with unique dancehall influences, skyrocketed the rapper to the top of the charts. Frequently looking to other musicians for inspiration, Drake’s samples range from vintage slow jams to more modern artists, combined with memorable lyrics and catchy hooks to create the 6 god’s unmistakable sound.

 

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“Best I Ever Had” (2009)
Song Sampled: “Fallin’ in Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds (1975)

Drake’s break-out single off his So Far Gone EP was riddled with controversy. Producer Kia Shine claimed that he co-wrote the smash hit for Drake, making him entitled to part ownership of the song. Shine had produced a track for Lil Wayne titled “Do It for the Boy,” which “Best I Ever Had” uses a small portion of. Drake claimed that he had never worked Shine with, let alone met him. “I wrote the entire composition in Toronto and I borrowed one line from a Lil Wayne song that he produced the BEAT for. The claims of 25% ownership are false and for an artist to brag about splits on a song is distasteful to begin with,” Drake wrote on his website. If that wasn’t enough, the rapper then got sued by Playboy. On June 24, 2010 Playboy Enterprises filed a lawsuit against Drake, Cash Money Records and Universal Music Group, claiming that “Best I Ever Had” samples American rock group Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds’ 1975 hit “Fallin’ in Love”, a song to which Playboy owns the copyright. Listen to 10 seconds of the ’70s disco track and you’ll be waiting for Drake to come in and start his verse.

 

jamie xx gil scott heron“Take Care” feat. Rihanna (2011)
Song Sampled: “I’ll Take Care of U” by Jamie xx and Gil-Scott Heron (2011)

The second collaboration between Drake and Rihanna after 2010’s “What’s My Name?”, this track samples the beat and the hook from Jamie xx’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s version of “I’ll Take Care of U,” which was originally recorded as a blues song by Bobby Bland in 1959. In addition, the rapper also references Lesley Gore’s 1963 number one single “It’s My Party” where she sings, “it’s my party, I’ll cry if I want to.” Drake reworks the lyrics to “It’s my birthday, I’ll get high if I want to/Can’t deny that I want you, but I’ll lie if I have to.” If you listen to the chorus of “It’s My Party,” you’ll see that Drake even mimics its tone in this part of his song. These lines are fitting, as Take Care (the album) was originally set to be released on Drake’s birthday (October 24th).

 

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“Hotline Bling” (2015)
Song Sampled: “Why Can’t We Live Together” by Timmy Thomas (1972), among others

Getting sued by Playboy wasn’t the only questionable thing that happened to Drake throughout his career. His smash hit was originally titled “Hotline Bling (Cha Cha Remix)” after singer-rapper D.R.A.M’s “Cha Cha” when it premiered on Beats 1 OVO Sound Radio in July 2015. The two tracks sound eerily similar and Drake has even called it a “quasi cover.” However, although Timmy Thomas is listed as a co-writer on “Hotline Bling” due to the sampling of his 1972 soul hit “Why Can’t We Live Together,” D.R.A.M.’s song has since been removed from the title and is nowhere to be found on the credits. “I feel like my record got jacked,” D.R.A.M. says, “and it’s not just me. People been comparing ‘Cha Cha’ and ‘Hotline Bling’ since it came out.”

 

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“One Dance” feat. Wizkid and Kyla (2016)
Song Sampled: “Do You Mind” (Crazy Cousinz Remix) by Kyla (2009)

It’s hard to believe that “One Dance” was Drake’s first number one single on the Billboard charts. He had been featured on two number one singles prior to the dancehall-infused smash hit, but they were both under Rihanna’s name: “What’s My Name?” and “Work.” “One Dance” features a slowed down sample of the vocals and chord stabs from a 2008 UK funky house anthem, Kyla’s “Do You Mind,” along with a verse from Nigerian singer, Wizkid. He and Drake had teamed up in 2015 to remix his song “Ojuelegba.” Drake had reportedly been a fan of Kyla’s song for several years and after convincing his producer to use “Do You Mind” as a bridge, production of “One Dance” took only about a week to complete. Kyla said of the experience:

“I thought it was going to be a good few weeks before it dropped, but I saw it in the paper on Monday, and Tuesday it was out. It was really crazy, really quick […] They got my track, cut the bits out that they wanted, and just made a song out of it. They explained to me that two tunes [from Views] had been leaked, so they weren’t going to send the song over to me. They played a little snippet of it over the phone. They were very much like, ‘Let’s run with this version, there’s no time for recording it or anything like that. We’re getting hacked left, right, and centre.’”

In fact, Drake and his team were unsure how “One Dance” would be received since they thought it was a significant shift from his previous work. Therefore, they decided to release “Pop Style” along with it, since they felt it was more aligned with conventional rap. After claiming the top spot in the US and global charts, as well as becoming the number one streamed song in Spotify’s history, it’s safe to say Drake and his team underestimated the broad appeal of “One Dance.”

 

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“Glow” feat. Kanye West (2017)
Song Sampled: “Devotion” (Live) by Earth, Wind & Fire (1975)

Despite having joined forces with Drake numerous times in the past, that didn’t stop Kanye West from dissing the hitmaker in a lengthy concert rant late last year. At a  Sacramento gig, Kanye called out Drake, DJ Khaled, Jay Z, Beyoncé and others after stopping his show three songs in. Kanye dissed radio stations for not playing his music, implying that Drake and Khaled had boosted their track’s performance on the radio. “We can love each other, but the rules gotta be fair,” he said, “Khaled, and Drake, and radio, and Doc, and 92.3 and everybody, is it just me or did you hear that song so many times? You say you wanna play it ‘For Free?’ Ayy, ayy, you know what it is, though.” He also claimed that MTV executives told him Beyoncé would be winning the Video of the Year VMA for “Formation.” “Beyoncé, I was hurt cause I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me, and over ‘Hotline Bling,'” he said. “We are all great people, we are all equal, but sometimes we be playing the politics too much and forgetting who we are just to win. Fuck winning!” Kanye said. Finally, the rapper called out long-time collaborator Jay Z: “Call me bra. You still ain’t call me. Jay Z, call me. Ayy brah, Jay Z I know you got killas, please don’t send ‘em at my head, just call me. Talk to me like a man,” he said. Kanye seemed angry that Bey and Jay hadn’t reciprocated the love after the infamous Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 VMA awards. “I went down 7 years of my life of motherfuckas hating me cause I said Beyoncé had the best video,” Yeezy concluded. “Glow” does not necessarily mean that the two have made amends, however, as the track was most likely recorded around August 2016 — well before Kanye’s November rant.

– Matthew Martino

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Free Samples: Kanye West and the Art of Sampling

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Hip-hop and sampling go together like peanut butter and jelly, like apple pie and ice cream, like police brutality and unarmed African Americans (case in point: remember the Dallas police officer who recently shot and killed unarmed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, the passenger of a car that was too far away for the officer to tell if there was any imminent threat?).

According to Amir Said, musician and author of The Art of Sampling, sampling is “one of the most innovative music processes to emerge in the late-twentieth century.” The technique consists of taking a portion (or sample) of a song and inserting it into a new production, creating an entirely different concept and sound. This is has been the foundation of the rap genre since its humble beginnings, allowing beat-makers to express themselves and expose the harsh realities that far too many young black Americans like Jordan Edwards experience everyday.

While some may discredit the practice as simply stealing, there is no doubt that sampling has left a profound impact on hip-hop and popular music as a whole. Perhaps Mark Ronson said it best in his TED Talk: “Sampling isn’t about hijacking nostalgia wholesale. It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward.”

In keeping with this spirit, CKUT’s latest project, Free Samples, will highlight a rap artist each week, dissecting a handful of their songs and what they sampled along with the history behind each track.  Continue reading

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Concert Review: Chance the Rapper Takes the Bell Centre to Church

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“I talk to God in public,” Chance the Rapper proudly proclaims in “Blessings,” the radiant closer of his brilliant mixtape, Coloring Book. After Thursday night’s concert, it’s no wonder the man upstairs has his ear on the 24-year-old Chicago beat-maker.

After opening act DJ Oreo warmed up the crowd with throwback hits, Chance came out guns blazing, tearing through “Mixtape,” “Blessings,” and the infectious “Angels.” After spending ample time interacting with the audience, he then transitioned into a mashup of Kanye West numbers that he cowrote off The Life of Pablo including “Waves,” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” concluding with his triumphant verse in “Ultralight Beam.” The crowd was hooked.

Backed by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, Chance then performed the jubilant “Sunday Candy” before giving his backing vocalists the spotlight as they serenaded the crowd with their rendition of “D.R.A.M. Sings Special.” It came with no surprise that DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” was part of the night’s setlist, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and just recently went platinum. That night, the Justin-Bieber-sung track sounded less like mindless pop-radio fluff and more like the undisputed song of the summer.

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Chance also didn’t shy away from his older hits, performing “Chainsmoker,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Favorite Song” off his 2013 critically acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap, which helped place the Grammy-winner on the map. While performing the latter, the rapper looked just as ecstatic as we all were to hear it.

Then came one of the many highlights of the night: the defiant “No Problem”, which he prefaced by urging the crowd to be fearless. Behind him, the massive screen displayed distorted logos of prominent record labels: most notably, the Warner Music Group emblem, which was fashioned to look like a flaccid penis. Followed by the equally high-energy “All Night,” Chance then transitioned into a number of slow jams, including “Summer Friends” and “Same Drugs” yet he did not lose the audience for a second.

Before concluding the night with “Blessings (Reprise),” Chance told the crowd, “make some noise if you want to go to heaven.” For those two hours, it was as close as many of us were ever going to get.

– Review by Matthew Martino