One of my favorite things about Hip-Hop has always been stumbling upon samples and references. Whether it’s hearing a now-commonly used phrase or melody on a 1980s rap record (think pretty much every line on Paid in Full) or catching a sample that I didn’t even realize was there (I definitely wasn’t thinking about Shawty Lo when I put on Mandrill’s “Children of the Sun”), Hip-Hop’s constant nods towards the past create infinite opportunities for spontaneous discovery for a music lover.
Last time I contributed a Daily Funk, I highlighted a track from the Jimi Hendrix-led Band of Gypsys. The drummer from Band of Gypsys, Buddy Miles (R.I.P.) was an accomplished artist in his own right, holding down the rhythm section for the Delfonics and Wilson Pickett at various times. Miles alos started a band called The Electric Flag with legendary blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield.
I was unfamiliar with Electric Flag when I pressed play on their debut album A Long Time Comin’. A wide-ranging and ambitious project, it includes uptempo soul-rock tracks alongside slower bluesy numbers, and features a horn section as well the standard guitar/drums/bass/keys setup. There’s a number of strong moments on the LP, but the stand-out to me is the chorus/breakdown in “Groovin’ is Easy,” which I instantly recognized it as a sample on one of my favorite releases of last year, Skipp Coon & Mr. Nick’s Sophomore Slump EP.
“It doesn’t have to be so hard, No no it doesn’t have to be so hard, So hard on you”
Electric Flag’s plea for the listener to let go of apprehension and chase their dreams gets turned into an intro for Skipp and Nick’s “Fight,” where Skipp works to convince his peers there’s an alternative to the their current lifestyle. He enlightens and motivates over a rolling bassline for the next three minutes, but the opening sample sets the table perfectly for his message, turning the original meaning into a revolutionary anthem.
The Electric Flag – “Groovin Is Easy”
Skipp Coon & Mr. Nick – “Fight”