This is the first in (hopefully) an ongoing series dedicated to the illest, far-reaching, exotic samples in history and the producers who dug these (no doubt) warped, scratched, and liquor stained records out of the grimiest, dustiest, and dampest basements and record shops . Whereas the majority of current hip-hop (if you want to call it hip-hop – that’s another post though) relies on the same bullshit synths and drum kits (i’d seriously like to know where producers these days get the same recycled drum kit with that snare and that hi hat and, oh, that kick) – this series will pay tribute to a time when samples were king. In fairness, copyright laws have changed immensely since the inception of hip-hop sampling (although this does not justify the lack of creative output) – but that is yet another post for another time.
McCallum is best known as a Scottish actor. However in the 60s, like many celebrities before and since – McCallum tried his hand in music. Unlike most celebrities who do this (see: Shaq/Fu-Schnikens), he was classically trained and thus tried his hand as a composer (though his actual involvement in the albums is somewhat unknown as his friend and producer David Axelrod was thought to have produced much of his albums).
“The Edge” is by far his most recognizable song and certainly worthy of being played outside of the context of being a famous hip hop sample. In that context, however, have come a few pretty nice joints, and one very well known track.
I think that this is a great example of the expertise of the producer. Its always been a contention of mine that “the get” – the sample – is 50% of any track — I’m just talking about the find itself. But, even with the best sample any producer can manage to fuck it up. The song’s heat is determined once it’s looped/chopped/screwed and of course the addition of the drums (in no particular order). How these are done will make or break a song.
The following songs are monsters; and all sample “The Edge” – but who do you think did it the best?