Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Not All That Jazz!?! Part 1: What I Am

Today I'm starting a brand new series on The Low End Theory entitled: "Not All That Jazz!?!" Basically, what the series is going to encapsulate is albums, artists, and songs that have either been sampled or should be sampled that do not fit the "traditional" Hip Hop mold of sampling Soul, Funk, and Jazz. I'm going to kick off this series with one of my favourite 80's rock songs that have been sampled: "What I Am" by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians are something commonly called a "One Hit Wonder." The band formed in 1985 in Dallas Texas when an enebriated Edie got enough courage to join the band on stage at a bar. That band was called The New Bohemians. From that point on she became part of the group, and they continued to write and perform until they got a recording contract and released their debut album "Shooting Rubber Bands At The Stars" in 1988 on Geffen Records. Their first single "What I Am" became their one big hit and was in the top ten charts. The popularity of the single propelled their album to platinum status.

The group released their sophomore album entitled "Ghost Of A Dog" in 1990 which did not win critical acclaim nor did well on the charts, and the group disbanded shortly thereafter. Edie released a solo album in 1994 entitled "Picture Perfect Morning," and another entitled "Volcano", in 2003. Both albums were not very commercially succsseful, but they are both critically acclaimed. Today, Edie is married to singer/composer Paul Simon, and she still jams with The New Bohemians whenever she is in Texas.

The opening bar or two of "What I Am" has been sampled by a few of Hip Hop's most noteworthy groups. The first time it was sampled was by Brand Nubian for their classic single "Slow Down," which was on their debut album "One For All" released in 1990 on Elektra Records (which has now been absorbed into Atlantic Records). It was more recently sampled by DJ Premier of Gangstarr who produced a full re-make of the song with UK dance group Tin Tin Out with singer Emma Bunton (Baby Spice of The Spice Girls) doing the vocals. It was also sampled on R&B group New Edition's
"Something About You" which appeared on their 1996 comeback album "Home Again."

Below I have links to MP3's of "What I Am" and the songs that were built on it, especially that classic guitar riff at the beginning.

What I Am - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Slow Down - Brand Nubian
Something About You - New Edition
What I Am (Gangstarr Remix) - Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton