The Rap Legacy Of “Friends And Strangers”

The last couple of weeks have proven to be Hip-Hop Christmas around these here Internets with free projects raining down like dollar bills at your mom’s night job. Two particularly spectacular works were Wale’s More About Nothing and Smoke DZA’s awesomely-named George Kush The Button. While listening to both, I couldn’t help but notice a familiar saxophone riff sampled in each album.

That sample, found on DZA’s “Good Talk” and Wale’s “Friends and Strangers” comes from Ronnie Laws’ song “Friends and Strangers” off his album of the same name. Now, I’m horrible at identifying samples, but Laws’ notes are so distinctive that they become the most distinguishable part of any beat. I was also able to recall the sample because I first heard it on one of my favorite albums from the David D. Backpack Era: Mm..Food. Unlike most songs that have been sampled multiple times, “Friends and Strangers” has gotten pretty decent treatment every time it’s been used. For proof, here’s a brief history of Hip-Hop songs that have sampled the tune.

First, for reference, here’s the actual song:

Subscribe to UPROXX

The oft-sampled notes don’t come in until around the 30-second mark. The repetition is playful and fun in its simplicity, leading to a falling action that mimics the up-and-down of gaining friends that eventually become strangers. This theme has clearly been a muse for rappers who write over the sample.

MF DOOM – “Deep Fried Frenz” (Produced By MF DOOM) — This was my first encounter with this sample. DOOM lays the samples over boom baps that allow for the accompanying Whodini sample. This is still my favorite song to use the “Friends and Strangers” loop. For those that say DOOM is all non-sequitors, check this song out. Almost every line is a gem to live by: “I found a way to get peace of mind for years and left the hell along/ turn a deaf ear to the cellular phone.” Amen, brother.

Around The Web


Chris Hardwick Talks ‘Funcomfortable,’ His Dad’s Personal Mantra, And Keeping A Crazy Schedule

Is There More To The Adam Walsh Story?

Stand-Up Comedy Scared The Hell Out Of Me, So I Decided To Give It A Shot

W. Kamau Bell On Joking With The KKK For CNN And Quoting Malcolm X In His New Special

Chef Jonathan Bennett Shares His Fourteen ‘Can’t Miss’ Food Experiences In Cleveland, Ohio

Jen Kirkman Talking About Her New Book Will Make You Want To Write Your Own

Your Travel Guide To Every ‘Archer’ Location On The Planet

Drifters Take Note: This Couple Has Crucial Advice For Long-Term Travelers

‘Rad’ Star Bill Allen Looks Back On Helltrack And That Iconic BMX Prom Scene, 30 Years Later

Key And Peele Talk About ‘Keanu,’ Why Cats Are Funny, And What They’ll Do If Fame Doesn’t Work Out

Meet Christine Sun Kim — The Sound Artist Who’s Changing The Way We Listen

Presented By
The All-New Prius

UPROXX 20: Jon Lajoie Wishes He Could Go Back In Time To Buy Netflix Stock, Just Like You