Who Flipped It Better? Compton’s Most Wanted vs. Greyson and Jasun
Everybody loves a dope sample flip. Hip-hop is a special art form because it not only incorporates music from decades ago, but it can help introduce you to and fall in love with that music.
'Who Flipped It Better?' is our new weekly column where we'll take one song, our first being James Brown's legendary 'The Payback,' and choose two rap records that sampled that track. We'll break each one down and decide which song flipped the sample better. Loop diggers, crate lovers and hip-hop heads alike, rejoice.
James Brown’s 'The Payback' has scoured every inch of hip-hop’s landscape. Sampled by over 150 rap songs ranging from The Almighty RSO and MC Ren to Wreckx-N-Effect and Public Enemy, those warped guitar licks from the intro are one of the most well known loops in rap’s history. We take it coast to coast to see how two rap groups on opposite ends of the map made the funk… even funkier.
Sample: James Brown – ‘The Payback’
We start in the West circa 1990, when MC Eiht was coming up with Boom Bam, MC Chill, Ant Capone, and producer DJ Slip. They called themselves Compton’s Most Wanted and they were some bad mother shut-yo-mouths, boy: Slip had produced Ice T’s mega-hit ‘6 In The Morning’ prior to the group’s formation (as well as another hit by King Tee), and right before their sophomore album ‘Straight Checkn ‘Em’ dropped, MC Chill got knocked for a three year bid, thus missing most of CMW’s success.
First flip: Compton’s Most Wanted's ‘Final Chapter’
Their debut album, ‘It’s A Compton Thang,’ was rider music. Coming in at a lean 11 songs, they kept things gully while soul wafted up from the bass of every track (they even snuck in a DJ Quik diss.) Track three is ‘Final Chapter,’ and once it begins with a drum break from the J.B.’s ‘(It’s Not The Express) It’s The Monaurail,’ DJ Slip cleverly folds the ‘Big Payback’ break, along with those long-faced strings, into the centerpiece of the beat. The verses have both samples layered onto (or into) one another to head-wobbling effect – it’s hard not to screw your face up to it.
Second flip: Greysun and Jasun's ‘Livin’ Like A Troopa’
Across the country one year later, two dudes under Slick Rick’s wing had released a single called ‘Livin’ Like A Troopa.’ Their names were Jasun and Greyson, and no they weren’t a ghetto folk duo. Besides the fact that these two look like they bought matching suits from the thrift store and did a photoshoot in a prison shower for the cover, ‘Sweatin’ Me Wet’ was a solid album produced by Rick’s main man Vance Wright and even featured a guest verse from the Ruler himself.
The standout cut is clearly ‘Livin’ Like A Troopa,’ and in the video they tote guns to distance themselves from that whole ‘don’t drop the soap’ steez from their cover. The ‘Payback’ drums and yawning licks dominate the production without ever really giving room for another bridge in the beat, like the chorus of ‘Final Chapter’ does with the ‘Hot Pants’ sample.
‘Final Chapter’ is stuffed with six samples (all revolving around James Brown and The J.B.’s) throughout the song, and while Wright also used six samples on ‘Livin Like A Troopa,’ pulling from Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, and Herb Alpert, it doesn’t quite have as much depth as Slip’s engineering has. There’s something so in the cut about how Slip connects samples on top of one another to groove together, where as Wright’s beat seems almost like a simple loop in comparison. The girls might have been sweatin’ Greyson and Jasun hard, but the duo stands down to MC Eiht’s crew this go-round.
WINNER: Compton's Most Wanted
Or at least that's what we think but what do you think? Vote for the best sample flip below.