February 18th, 2007

As a Hip-Hop Junkie from the days of giving a damn, I’ve always been fascinated with where samples came from. Hunting down the original songs would cause me to become a fan of the older artists that I’d never heard of before (like O.V. Wright and Lafayette Afro-Rock Band) or clue me in to a song from an old favorite that I’d never heard before (EW&F’s “Bad Tune” and Bob James’ “Nautilus”). If you’ve ever been interested in where the beats and samples come from, I advise you to peep Xombi’s site, the Breaks.com. It’s a huge database that you can search and go, “oooooooooooh, that’s where that’s from!” with every search.

Today, I found this interesting blog that rolls along the same track called Sample Spotters with individual posts that spotlight artists and samples. The main post that caught my attention was about a break I’d heard but never knew the origin of: the ‘Amen Break’ from “Amen Brother” by the Winstons. More than just talking about the sample and it’s use, there’s a YouTube-hosted documentary video all about that break. One very interesting thing about it is how the use of the break solidly mirrors how ideas from Hip-Hop as a whole were filtered into other genres and into the watered-down mainstream culture. Plus, it’s nice when Mantronix and 3rd Bass get name-checked.

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