"Origins" offers a breakdown of the samples used on Danny Brown's new album "OLD".
OLD is Detroit emcee Danny Brown's third studio project, released on October 8th via Fool's Gold Records. The audience rating on our review of the album stands at 85%, and we feel it's one of the better offerings of 2013, both sonically and lyrically. The production was handled by Paul White, A-Trak, SKYWLKR, Oh No, Corin Roddick, Rustie, JMIKE, Darq E Freaker and BadBadNotGood, a diverse group of musicians hailing from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. who've soundtracked a dark, psychedelic trip inside the mind of one of the game's most original poets.
Danny summed up OLD's production in a recent interview with XXL, and we couldn't have put it better ourselves: "I made XXX with the aim of getting great reviews. And when I started making OLD, I was trying to think of artists that came back from getting great reviews and made an album that was just as good – or better! The only group I could really come up with was Radiohead. So if XXX was my OK Computer, then I’d have to make my Kid A next. So I studied Kid A, and I took away that it’s not so much about the lyrics as it is about the way the beats feel, so what drives this album is the production. I wanted to have the most amazing beats, but I still want them to sound minimal - it’s still gotta sound like a Danny Brown beat. It can’t sound like no fucking Kanye orchestra shit. That ain't me. That’s why I took so long with making this album. I was waiting for the perfect beats. And I got 'em."
Indeed. To our knowledge, 10 of the album's 19 tracks either sample or directly reference other songs. Let us know if we missed anything and we'll be sure to make the additions. You'll find our list is complete with both the new tracks and those they were sourced from.
"Side A (Old)", produced by Paul White, contains a distorted vocal sample from Danny's own track "New Era", from his 2010 project The Hybrid. "And I reps this shit right now, forever" can be heard at the 0:41 mark on the original and the 1:41 mark on the new song. The sample choice is itself a reference to the old Danny Brown, subtly introducing this central theme. Read the rest of the "Side A" lyrics at gotbars.com.
Although it doesn't seem to contain any direct samples, Danny has described "The Return" (produced by Paul White) as a remake of Outkast's "Return of the 'G'", from their 1998 album Aquemini. "We remade the OutKast song - it's part two," explained Danny in a July interview with Danish hip-hop site DrozDailySteezin. Although Big Boi and Three Stacks have yet to officially acknowledge the track, we're pretty sure they'd approve.
"Wonderbread", also produced by Paul White, contains a direct sample of Franco-British psychedelic rock group Gong's "Castle In The Sky", from their 1973 record Angel's Egg, which is wavy, to say the least. The sampled riff can be heard at the 12:05 mark on the original, and begins at the 0:10 mark on"Wonderbread", lingering throughout.
"Dope Fiend Rental", produced by Danny's go-to producer and tour DJ SKYWLKR, samples R&B vocal group The Moments (aka Ray, Goodman & Brown)'s "What's Your Name", from their 1974 project Those Sexy Moments.
"Torture", produced by Oh No, contains a direct sample of Belgian rock group Georgia Brown's "Pollution", from their 1973 record Pollution / Glory To The Music. OLD's production process clearly involved some heavy crate digging. The sample can be heard at the 1:14 mark on the original and throughout the entirety of "Torture".
"Lonely", produced by Paul White once again, contains samples from French singer-songwriter Morice Benin's "Apocalypse", from his 1980 record of the same name. You'll hear them at the 0:35 and 4:27 marks on the original track, and throughout the entirety of "Lonely".
Also, although not a direct sample, Danny quotes A$AP Rocky's "Demons" (from his 2011 debut mixtape Live.Love.A$AP) at the 0:12 mark with the line "hipster by heart, but I can tell you how the streets feel".
"Lonely", produced by Paul White yet again, directly samples British progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project's "The Raven", from their 1976 debut album Tales Of Mystery And Imagination, a musical interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's best work. Listen for the sampled elements at the0:03 and 2:03 marks on the original song, and throughout "Lonely".
Those familiar with Poe's poem "The Raven" should appreciate the significance of the sample - we've included it in full below for those who aren't.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door ''Tis some visitor,' I muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door Only this, and nothing more'
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor Eagerly I wished the morrow - vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore Nameless here for evermore
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating ''Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door This it is, and nothing more'
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer 'Sir,' said I, 'or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door Darkness there, and nothing more
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Lenore' This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, 'Lenore' Merely this and nothing more
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before 'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my window lattice Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore 'Tis the wind and nothing more!'
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door Perched, and sat, and nothing more
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore 'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no craven Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore' Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door With such name as 'Nevermore'
But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered Till I scarcely more than muttered 'Other friends have flown before On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before Then the bird said, 'Nevermore'
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken 'Doubtless,' said I, 'what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore Of "Never-nevermore"'
But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking 'Nevermore'
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor 'Wretch,' I cried, 'thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore' Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'
'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore' Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'
'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?' Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'
'Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting 'Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door' Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted - nevermore
-Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Raven'
"Red 2 Go", produced by Oh No, samples multiple aspects of Zambian rock group Amanaz' "Green Apple", from their 1974 record Africa. Listen for the most prominent element at the 0:39 mark on the original track,and throughout "Red 2 Go". This is further evidence of a dedicated crate-digging approach.
"Dip", produced by SKYWLKR, contains a distorted vocal sample from the hook of Freak Nasty's hit single "Da' Dip", included on his 1996 album Controversee...That's Life...And That's the Way It Is.
Also, "Dip" lyrically references Jay Z and Kanye West's "Niggas In Paris", from their 2012 collaborative album Watch The Throne. Danny can be heard repeating "don't let me get in my zone" throughout the track, words which Kanye begins chanting at the 2:58 mark on the original track. Read the rest of the "Dip" lyrics at gotbars.com.
Finally, "Smokin' & Drinkin'", produced by Fools Gold labelhead A-Trak, contains an element from Ray Charles' "Bye Bye Love", from his 1962 record Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music. This is definitely the most minimal sample we've discussed, as it's simply the ad-lib "yep" heard at the beginning of the original song. It can be heard throughout "Smokin' & Drinkin'".