“Sample School” – David Ruffin and Little Brother

After much discussion with a few people about why I don’t do “Sample School” more regularly, I decided to do a follow-up post that hopefully won’t be quite as long, but will still have some good music and classic examples of sampling. Let us begin….

Now in past lessons we discussed the use of what I like to call prominent samples. This is when the older song is readily identified in the new song because the sample used is rather noticeable throughout the new track. In this edition, we will steer away from that sort of sample and explore one that uses a small portion of an older song, but does this in a way that makes the new song appealing and unique. You might look at it as a ‘silent sample’ if one should exist. To display this concept we turn to the following 2 songs.

The first track was made in 1980 by a very talented gentleman that many people have come to know due to his depiction in a movie that chronicles a popular and groundbreaking Motown singing group known as The Temptations. He was one of the lead singers in the group for a period of time and is probably most noted for his vocals on songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. Davis Eli “David” Ruffin released the song “Slow Dance” on the album entitled Gentleman Ruffin, which would become his last solo album. This album’s cover art is also noteworthy because it was the inspiration for the cover art of Wiz Khalifa’s mixtape “Kush and Orange Juice“.

Gentleman Ruffin Cover Art

It overall is a pretty good song in my opinion, but for purposes of this post we will focus on the section of music from 2:19 to about 3:10. Take a listen to the clip below to get an idea of what part I’m talking about before we move to the next track, but by all means go back and listen to the entire track when you have some time.

Now to some true hip hop fans, this next group is definitely one of the all time pioneers of their generation. The have put out mixtapes and albums that remain in regular rotation when I break out my turntables, in the car, and when I’m schooling people on music they should definitely make time to check out. Little Brother consists of a trio (yes trio for those that know a little bit about them) from Durham, NC and in 2005 the released one of the greatest hip hop/rap albums of all time, The Minstrel Show!!! This entire album was met with both criticisms and praises from the likes of fans, entertainment networks, magazines, etc., and has been a topic of dispute as to its true greatness versus its overrated hype among those familiar with it. (Y’all already know how I feel about it.)

Most people are extremely familiar with the 1st single off the album, but today we will focus on the album’s 2nd single, “Slow It Down”. This song features verses from Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte speaking to the many topics including not forcing love, not being in a rush to make things seem perfect when they really aren’t, and a respectful way to approach & treat a woman. (Do they really even make rap songs like this anymore?) One verse touches on the seemingly ongoing issue of a man’s struggle to remain committed to his relationship. (Some deep sh*t….finger snaps). The chorus is delivered by Darien Brockington, and its production comes from one of the legendary DJ/producers of multiple musical genres, 9th Wonder. He has worked with an endless of amount of noteworthy artists such as with Mary J. Blige, Wale, Jay-Z, Murs, Drake, Chris Brown, Destiny’s Child, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Mac Miller, and David Banner. In fact, he is the genius behind the production of Badu’s song Honey, and if you’re not familiar with this track please do yourself a favor and listen to it ASAP. On the following song, you can hear the sample from above at the very beginning, but it is not the most prominent thing heard throughout the remainder of the track. A great example of sampling done the right way.

(Warning: Following song contains explicit lyrics)

Well that’s it for the 3rd edition of “Sample School“, and as always thanks for reading and we hoped you learned something.

– Supreme Soul

P.S. Apologies if the length of the post was too long.

P.S.S. Much love to my big brother (K Jazz) for being the first person to put me on Little Brother. It totally opened up my ears to more diverse music sir. Thank you.

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2 Responses to “Sample School” – David Ruffin and Little Brother

  1. Crenshaw says:

    One of my favorite samples: three 6 mafia sampling marvin gaye for sippin on syrup.

    Three Six Mafia: sippin on syrup

    Marvin Gaye: Is that enough

  2. Lovelysavant says:

    I had no idea about Sippin on Syrup sample – this is ahhhh-mazing

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