On February 12, Blue Note Records will release Droppin' Science
, a unique collection of the legendary label's classic late 60s through mid-70s jazz-funk tracks, all of which have featured prominently as samples in some of the greatest hip hop cuts of the late 80s, 90s and beyond.
Hip hop artists ranging from Dr. Dre
to the Beastie Boys
and A Tribe Called Quest
have sampled Blue Note grooves by such jazz greats as Lou Donaldson
, Grant Green
, Donald Byrd
, and Lonnie Smith
. All of these original Blue Note tracks have been compiled for the first time on Droppin' Science
, which Blue Note will release as a 10-track CD, a 13-track digital album and vinyl LP, as well as individual ring-tunes that are based on the exact sampled loop.
Little known to most of the general public, Blue Note is home to some of the most widely used samples in the history of hip hop. Sampling and the use of breakbeats has been the foundation of hip hop since its advent in the late 70s; yet, during the late 80s artists began looking for the first time into the world of jazz for new and creative sources of music. Blue Note's extensive catalog quickly became the go-to location for innovative groove based samples. What resulted was an explosion of classic hip hop tracks featuring Blue Note jazz. This explosion is best experienced in the music of A Tribe Called Quest, who used 4 out of the 10 tracks on Droppin' Science in numerous groundbreaking classics.
Taking the name from a cut off of Marley Marl
's 1988 LP In Control Vol. 1
, Blue Note's VP of A&R Eli Wolf conceived the Droppin' Science
project as a way to connect what he calls the "golden age of hip hop" to the now classic jazz-funk tracks recorded for Blue Note during the late 60s through mid-70s. Selecting from over 25 Blue Note tracks, Wolf has assembled the best of the best from the Blue Note sampleography.
The list of artists both sampled and sampling includes some of the most famous names in the world of jazz and hip hop, and covers a large breadth of time. In 1992, Kool G Rap
used Joe Williams
' "Get out of My Life Woman" in his classic cut "Ill Street Blues;" then, nearly a decade later Jill Scott
used the same sample in the song "Brotha" featured on her seminal neo-soul debut Words and Sounds: Vol 1
. Landmark tracks from Brand Nubian
("Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down"), De La Soul
("Bitties in the BK Lounge"), and Lox ("Get This $") all feature a groove from Lou Donaldson's "It's Your Thing." A Tribe Called Quest used Jack McDuff
's "Oblighetto" in their smash "Scenario." As recently as 2001, Dr. Dre sampled David McCallum's "The Edge" in the infamous cut "The Next Episode" which featured Snoop Dogg
. The list continues, with Biggie Smalls
' "One More Chance" remix and Mary J. Blige
's "Everyday It Rains" featuring a sample from Lou Donaldson's "Whose Makin' Love." Blue Note's influence has even been felt in the pop world where Madonna
used a Lou Donaldson sample ("It's Your Thing") in her song "I'd Rather Be Your Lover," as well as a sample of Grant Green's "Down Here on the Ground" in her song "Forbidden Love."
These innovative hip hop artists and beyond did their part to bring to light some of the gems of the Blue Note catalog. Yet, these tracks deserve to be heard in their entirety; complete with ripping Lonnie Smith organ solos and David Axelrod produced sound-scapes. Blue Note's aim is to re-introduce these classics to the public and to highlight the innovative ways in which these artists and producers utilized jazz material in their work. Droppin' Science
brings these jazz tracks together for the first time in a truly distinct, soulful, and funky way.
Droppin' Science: "It's Your Thing" by Lou Donaldson (Sampled by Madonna, Brand Nubian, The Lox and De La Soul):
(Streaming audio and/or video links may expire without notice)