Dear Producers, Please Sample More ’90s R&B


/ April 2, 2014

And Here Are Some Suggested Tracks To Work With

Last night, Drake dropped a freestyle called “Draft Day,” over a track (produced by Boi-1Da and The Fans) that samples a song I play at least 20 times a year: Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing).” A 1998 classic. At one point, I wondered (jokingly) whether hip-hop producers would run out of throwback records to interpolate to death. But believe it or not, in the history of time, a lot of music has been released. So there’s still plenty of classicness from the ’60s to ’00s to source; part of the art of sampling is hunting down the most obscure singles and album tracks to chop up. Fortunately, producers are pretty creative, so my old ’90s R&B jams are popping up in places other than my playlists. We can call it a thing. It’s not a fresh concept (Fabolous’ 2009 jam “Makin’ Love” samples Brandy’s “Brokenhearted,” and he remade Tamia’s “Into You”), but I have noticed an uptick in songs by both rappers and R&B artists that reach for that ’90s nostalgia. For purely selfish reasons, I need more producers and artists to hop on this. Drake is a major culprit. His near-ballads lend itself to the mush of ’90s R&B—The Thank Me Later track produced by 40 and Boi-1Da, “Unforgettable,” expertly tributes Aaliyah’s “At Your Best.” The light-skinned Keith Sweat and his team also mined that era’s rap songs for this era—Juvenile’s “Back That Ass Up” (for “Practice”) and Wu-Tang Clan’s “It’s Yourz” (“Own It”). Just for me, Scoop DeVille chiseled Janet Jackson’s “Anytime, Anyplace” into Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice,” co-starring Drake. And J. Cole’s “Cole Summer” samples the Lauryn and D’Angelo duet, “Nothing Even Matters,” one of my top-100 favorite songs of all time. They’re practically reading my mind. There’s more. Rihanna’s “Jump” borrows Ginuwine’s “Pony.” Ciara’s “Body Party” is a pretty interpretation of Ghost Town DJs’ classic “My Boo.” Mack Wilds does a stripped down rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” on his album, New York: A Love Story. Also see Frank Ocean’s use of MJB’s “Real Love” in “Super Rich Kids.” There are other examples I’m forgetting. No coincidence: There’s been coverage of how ’90s nostalgia is currently in vogue in the form of fashion and movie references.

Let’s continue this. Besides Mokenstef, here are just a few more ‘90s R&B songs (some of which already contain samples) that producers and Drake can flip for modern times and achieve the ultimate goal of making me happy. —Clover Hope (@clovito) Groove Theory – “Tell Me” Mariah Carey – “Emotions” Dru Hill – “In My Bed” TLC – “Creep” Anything TLC Boyz II Men – “Water Runs Dry” Anything Brandy Toni Braxton – “Breathe Again” Monica – “Don’t Take It Personal” Changing Faces – “Stroke You Up” Erykah Badu – “On & On” D’Angelo – “Brown Sugar” (maybe this counts) Photo Credit: Getty Images