When I first started out, the prospect of having a turntable seemed like almost an impossibility. It was overwhelming and intimidating to say the least.
What brand would I purchase?
How am I going to hook it up?
How am I going to be able to get the sounds off of the record into my sampler?
These were all really tough questions, and eventually I just kind of avoided the matter altogether, and sampled songs from the internet for years! I would get kind of down about it, and looking back I have no idea why I never tried harder to learn about turntables sooner!
They have an old school, nostalgic quality about them that is really hard to put your finger on. Some days I will just sit back and spin records for the pure enjoyment of it. One of the most satisfying things is going to a used record store or a thrift shop and finding hidden relics and gems that people were content to part with.
There are days where I will buy upwards of 50 records for .25 cents apiece. I love collecting them and discovering the lost and forgotten sounds of artists past. Some of the composers I’ve come across became famous, while others remain lost in the obscurity of time. It is fascinating just how many people in the world make music!
A lot of these forgotten artists put out some great stuff. Some of what I hear however is downright atrocious and embarrassing. 😛 Lol.
Still, though, I haven’t thrown away any of them, as they all have a special place in my psyche.
One day after purchasing the Audio Technica AT LP60, my dad got curious about it. He has a Technics SL-1700, one of the most reliable and time tested models in existence. It has served him well for over 30 years.
The convenience of the LP 60 however really intrigued him. He also has a ton of vinyl lying around and asked me if I would rip some of them into .wav files for him so that he could make albums.
This is one of the biggest selling points of the USB model. It is super convenient, and also a breeze to set up. Not only that, it’s reliable, durable, and has proven to be quite a workhorse machine for me. It really does make the perfect gift!
A lot of people are quick to judge producers who sample records without realizing that hip-hop was founded on sampling. Many of the songs you hear came from old records, both obscure and recognizable.
It gives me a newfound respect for the craft every time I discover a sample that was arranged in a fresh and unique way, completely different from the original sound.
Hip hop has always been about that and continues to grow stronger to this day. There was a time when I thought that it might be starting to die off, but that can never happen. Time and maturity made me realize that there is and will always be good music out there, but it’s a matter of discovery rather than a norm.
One of my absolute favorite things to experience is the feeling of hearing a sample that I recognize from a hip-hop song. There have been so many times when I was just casually listening to a record, and then being hit like a ton of bricks. “Wow! I know that sample! So and so used it on (insert song here).” It’s really cool to know that there are people out there who are as impacted by the music as I am.
Some classic examples:
Ice Cube’s “Today was a good day” sampled from the Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the dark” Let’s go a bit further though. J Dilla sampled the intro drums for this same song in “Won’t Do.” Just goes to show how sampling in hip-hop is everywhere!
Project Pat’s “You know the Bizness” sampled from Bobby Womacks “Woman’s Gotta Have It” I also sampled the same song, but from a different artist (James Taylor). Check it out here!
Ahmad’s “Back in the day” sampled from Teddy Pendergrass’ “Love T.K.O”
Common’s “The Light” sampled from Bobby Caldwell’s “Open your eyes”
9th Wonder’s “Dime Soul” sampled from Andre Kostelanetz and his Orchestra – One less bell to answer. Woo! When I tell you I was digging deep in my memory banks on that one, I ended up cheating and looked it up. I said “Man! I’ve heard that before!” Dime Soul is one of my favorite beats, and I’m mad at myself that I didn’t recognize where exactly it came from. The funny part is, I heard the song at my Mom and Dads house one Sunday and said to myself “I really need to sample that!” It sounded so good to me.
J Dilla’s “Won’t Do” sampled from Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the dark”, as well as Dick Hymans’ “Alfie.”
Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz’ – “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)” samples Steely Dan’s “Black Cow.”
The Pharcyde’s“Runnin” (prod. by J Dilla) samples Stan Getz’s “Saudade Vem Correndo”
Geto Boys’“Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” samples Isaac Hayes’ “Hung Up On My Baby”
The Fugees’“Family Business”, off of their 1996 LP The Score, samples the classic “Recuerdos De La Alhambra” by the late classical guitarist Francisco de Asís Tárrega (covered by many others including John Williams). I actually heard the piece on the Classical Station while driving and recognized it immediately because I’ve listened to the Score so many times.
DMX’s “Slippin” is a sample of Grover Washington’s “Moonstreams” off of the 1975 album Feels So Good. I actually bought this LP from the thrift store and had no idea what was in store for me when I got home to play it. Chills went down my spine as the record played and I was brought back to 1998 when I first heard Slippin’. It’s a moment I’ll never forget! You can see the record below 🙂
And these are just a few examples. Check out some of my sampled beats here!
Turntables and sampling, it doesn’t get much better. Whether you’re kicking back, spinning records and relaxing, or vigorously searching for that sample that hits you right in the heart .. you can’t go wrong in owning a record player in any capacity!!