Who Sampled It Best?
Sampling 101: Bobby Caldwell – My Flame
Artists like Michael McDonald, Rick Astley, Jon B, Robin Thicke and even Justin Timberlake all have awesome bodies of music. That’s not all that ties them together. They are a part of “blue eyed soul” phenomena. White cats that have soulful voices and if you weren’t familiar with them, you would think they are black R&B singers. Bobby Caldwell is another member of that crew. He stormed on the scene in 1978 and quickly made a splash. His self titled debut had his biggest bit, “What You Wont Do For Love”, which has been sampled many times by a wide range of artists from Tupac to Tatyana Ali and everyone in between. Now that’s not the only track on the album that hip hop took notice. The beautiful ballad “My Flame” found itself sampled a couple times in the 90’s.
Bobby Caldwell – My Flame
Who Sampled It Best?
1) 5th Ward Boyz “Bitch Pleeze”
The mighty Rap A Lot Record label stormed through the late 80’s and early 90’s. Geto Boys were the flagship group, but the label was home to a variety of acts. The 5th Ward Boyz released one of the finest albums ever on Rap A Lot. Their debut Ghetto Dope dropped in 1993 and featured some smooth music courtesy of some old school soul samples. This was the direct opposite of their subject matter. There was enough murder, drug dealing and dealing with hoes on this album to last a lifetime. One of the more smooth songs was their ode to the “funky cock hoes” that think they could get over on the crew on “Bitch Pleeze”. They showed no love with rhymes like:
Cause I don’t need no bitch up-throwin back beggin me and handle me
Trappin me by havin a little baby
And if she have a baby then she’s stuck
Better yet she fuck her ass is just shit out on lock
Ouch. Misogyny never sounded so smooth over that silky sample.
5th Ward Boyz – Bitch Pleeze
2) The Notorious B.I.G. “Sky’s The Limit”
The immortal Notorious B.I.G. released his final album in 1997; the magnificent Life After Death. Now I can spend the next 24 hours discussing the pure genius of this album, but let’s discuss the one single that sampled that timeless Bobby Caldwell track. “Sky’s the Limit” showcased B.I.G. getting autobiographical and in turn ended up with one of his best singles ever. Producer Clark Kent took the sample, perfected it, and with the addition of 112 on the hook, jettisoned this rags to riches story to another galaxy. Everything about this song (including the video) is perfection!
The Notoroius B.I.G. – Sky’s The Limit
Sampling 101: Bobby Cadwell – My Flame
As much as I enjoyed rhyming “You thought you had me played, you funky cock hoe” with my cousin T up in Buffalo as kid, this really is no match. 5th Ward Boyz version has a more authentic vibe to it. You can actually hear what sounds like record static throughout the song. The lyrics, the music, the flow, and the video to “Skys The Limit” upgraded everything and is just superior and polished.
This is one of those samples that rarely gets used. BIG must have scared anyone else from using it. 90’s quartet Portrait put a new jack spin on the sample when recording 1995’s “Heartstrings” which made on playlist in college. But me answer this, whether your choice is above or not…Who Sampled It Better?
Who Sampled It Best? is a weekly column that delves into the background of sampling and Hip-Hop culture by taking a deeper look at it’s roots.
Have a suggestion? Hit us up with your favorite tracks that used the same sample and we’ll break it down.