Saturday Sample Session – NWA

Dr. Dre has used a countless number of samples throughout his career. But the ones he used for NWA may not be as obvious. I knew I would eventually do NWA but I didn’t know how or when.

I Just Start Typing

I rarely know what artists I’m going to discuss when I sit down with my laptop. But this week was different. I was watching a documentary on Motown called Hittsville when I got the idea for this week’s Sample Session.

But it didn’t stop there. The song I initially planned to write about was Eazy Duz It. The beginning of that song uses an awesome sample from the Temptations Ball of Confusion. But I changed my mind.

While pondering over the rest of NWA’s catalog I stumbled on what I believed to be a better idea. Dopeman was the song I settled on. Not only was it more popular than Eazy Duz It, but the original work was more interesting in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, Ball Of Confusion is a beautiful piece of art. I initially had a hard time figuring out what album this song was on. I would have expected it to be on the ‘Psychedelic Shack‘ album, but it wasn’t. I checked tracklists for a few more albums and still couldn’t find it.

I eventually discovered Ball of Confusion was a song they recorded in 1970 as the only new single to anchor their ‘Greatest Hits II’ album. The music and message in Ball Of Confusion marked a strong departure from the sound and style of the earlier Temptations. It was a departure Berry Gordy wasn’t comfortable with, but it worked out in the end.

Funky Worm

Funky Worm is a song by the Ohio Players, from their album ‘Pleasure’. It peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard R&B charts in 1973 and also peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the No. 84 song for 1973.

A few hip hop artists have sampled Funky Worm by the Ohio Players. But I don’t think anyone has sampled this song more than NWA. They used the high pitched whine of the synthesizer for Gangsta Gangsta. Ice Cube even used it in Wicked and Ghetto Bird.

Too Short, Xzibit, Game, Kriss Kross, MC Breed and even Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince have taken from Funky Worm. MC Breed’s use of it for Aint No Future In Your Frontin was probably the most obvious.

In Dopeman, Dre took the synthesizer and the bassline to make the track. You don’t hear the sample throughout the entire song. Instead, he uses them like seasoning and just sprinkles them here and there as needed.

If you listen to Funky Worm, then listen to Dope Man I think you’ll agree that even back then, Dre possessed superior production skills. Remember, Dre has no formal music training. Besides what he’s taught himself along the way he doesn’t play anything. Boy does he have an ear!

My suggestion? Listen with earphones. Both songs!

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