Sampling 101: Midnight Star – Curious

Who Sampled It Best ?

Sampling 101:

Midnight Star – Curious

The 80’s gave birth to a new breed of R&B groups.  Midnight Star was one of them and they released 9 albums throughout the 80’s.   Their 5th album, 1984’s Planetary Invasion featured the groups biggest charting hit, “Operator.” Make no mistake, this wasn’t the only jam on the album.   “Curious” was one of the ballads that hip hop would soon take notice of and began sampling with varying results. Let’s check a couple of them out and see who did it best.

Midnight Star – Curious

Who Sampled It Best ?

1. Eric B & Rakim-What’s On Your Mind

Best MC’s are always a topic in hip hop.   No matter which coast you are from, one thing is for sure, Rakim is somewhere on that list.   1992’s Don’t Sweat The Technique was  Eric B and Rakim’s final album (:().    “Whats on Your Mind” starts this album off and is definitely a memorable seductive ballad.  Rakim perfectly creates the scene as he attempts to kick game to beautiful young lady he met on the subway.   Never disrespectful, he effortlessly gets the lady.  I think I stole some of his rhymes to try and woo Monique E back in high school:

But you gotta trust me and you’re gonna love me

Squeeze the phone and hug me, use your mind to rub me

Now how does it feel when my mental massage ya temple

Telephones hot from the vibes that I sent you.

The Eric B production perfectly matched the song.   He used vocal samples and the chords from “Curious” which sounded celestial as a backdrop to Rakim’s persuasion. In case you forgot, take a listen to the song, study the album and realize why Rakim is referred to as The God.

Eric B & Rakim – What’s on Your Mind

Who Sampled It Best ?

2. Warren G – This DJ

By the time 1994 came around,  G Funk had a hip hop in a camel clutch.  Warren G introduced his flavor of G Funk on the iconic Regulate….G Funk EraUnless you were living under the Rock of Gibraltar, you enjoyed the lead single, “Regulate.”  His follow up, “This DJ” was just as infectious. Over  drunken, swirly synths and smooth bassline, Warren gets retrospective about his childhood. The nonchalant scratches and the faint vocal sample throughout help create an amazing experience.  This was such a lovely interpretation of “Curious

Warren G – This D.J.

3. Kurious – I’m Kurious

Later that year, Puerto Rican/Cuban rapper Kurious used the Midnight Star sample on his debut single “I’m Kurious”.   He took a different approach with this though.  The main sample is “Mysterious Vibes” by “The Blackbyrds.  Once the hook arrives, a vocal sample from “Curious” is heard.   This was definitely a unique way to flip the timeless sample.

Kurious – I’m Kurious

4. LSG – Curious

Remember the R&B supergroup LSG?   Legends Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill and Gerald Levert joined forces and created LSG.   Their first album, Levert, Sweat & Gill was released in 1997 and featured the classic ballad, “My Body”.   Another single, “Curious” was released in 1998 and featured verses from LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and the ageless MC Lyte.   This was a fun song which featured the MC’s rhyming over “Curious” while the host sang the hook.

LSG – Curious ft LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes & MC Lyte

This DJ” does it best

This DJ” just edges out “What’s On Your Mind”.  The cool, chill vibe that Warren G is able to create from the timeless “Curious” tune is complete bliss.   I love Rakim’s game, and I like that song better, but the tapestry Warren created is a flawless victory

Now there were a couple other artists who sampled this timeless track.  Human beat box Doug E Fresh sampled “Curious” on “If I Was Your Man”. MC Eiht turned it up on “You Cant See Me”.  Louisiana wordsmith Curren$y recently flowed over this backdrop on “Mallory Knox”.   But me answer this, whether your choice is above or not…Who Sampled It Best?

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.

Sampling 101: Midnight Star – Curious

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