Imagining New York City with Rakim & James Brown

When I first started this blog, I did for the pure joy of sharing my passion for music, culture, and history. In the past year, I’ve felt joy leave and posting has become more burdensome as I’ve felt pressure to commercialize it in some way. As the blog steamed along, I got more and more solicitations from publicists wanting me to post on their bands. I’ve never taken them up on it but it felt like a bombardment and distracted me from my original purpose. While I don’t begrudge them doing their job, I want to keep it simple, as pure love expressed. So I’m kicking off my own independence weekend by reminiscing about my time in New York City in the 90s, listening to copious amounts of hip-hop, salsa, and reggae. For hip-hop and history lovers like myself, there is a great site that traces song genealogy, called www.whosampled.com. But I have my own version right here for ya!

From the Rakim’s 1997 The 18th Letter double album, here is a great track called “New York (Ya Out There)” produced by the illustrious DJ Premier:

While there are other samples throughout, I call your attention to the first vocal sample by James Brown. Here’s the original song called “Down and Out in New York City” from the 1973 film Black Caesar, to which James Brown did the soundtrack:


Love this. It was from the year I was born. Why do I love funk, rock, and folk from 70s so much? I imagine that it was this perfect combo of gritty rawness and really pretty melodies.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s