Who Flipped It Better? Madlib vs. DJ Paul & Juicy J
The Sample: The Manhattans – Wish That You Were Mine
The Manhattans are one of the best slept-on soul groups of the ’60s and ’70s. Groups with bigger profiles, like The Impressions, The Temptations, and The Blue Notes tend to get more recognition, while other groups like The Emotions and The O’Jays had bigger hits, but The Manhattans kept it simple with a warmth that still glows today. You might recognize the heavenly sound of ‘You’d Better Believe It’ from Ghostface’s ‘Barbershop.’
Flip 1: Project Pat – ‘Talkin’ Smart To A Pimp’ (Prod. by DJ Paul & Juicy J)
In 2007, Project Pat dropped his ’Walkin’ Bank Roll’ album produced exclusively by Three 6 Mafia beat pioneers DJ Paul and Juicy J. For ‘Talkin’ Smart To A Pimp,’ they clipped the first two bars of the Manhattans song, sped it up, and made that loop the foundation for the beat. It’s an effective portion, from the harmony to the strings and the keys, but it becomes a bit repetitive, even though the song clocks in at just over three minutes.
Flip 2: Freddie Gibbs – ‘Shame’ (Prod. by Madlib)
Madlib’s flip is more dynamic and a little more creative. Instead of just chopping off the first part of the song, he digs around and lifts three different sections from the beat: one at :10, one at :26, and one at 2:25. He wisely includes the vocals, which act like a cherry on top of the swelling strings and feed into the song’s chorus, sung by BJ The Chicago Kid. It gives the song a fluid continuity and makes it a standout on ‘Piñata,’ despite being one of the oldest songs recorded.
There’s little to argue here. While Three 6 get credit for their quality of sample choice, Cool and Dre did it before them for Fat Joe’s ‘All I Need’ in 2002, so they weren’t exactly breaking the mold. Madlib, on the other hand, makes every sound count. He has a keen sense of how to excavate a song for an array of golden snippets and he knows just how to arrange them. Hence why every single beat on ‘Piñata’ is immaculate.