MUSIC NERD MOMENT OF THE DAY: Lou Reed – “Walk On The Wild Side” and A Tribe Called Quest – “Can I Kick It”

The way that songs are sampled in Hip Hop has always been interesting to me. And the song choices as far as sampling has always been even more interesting. Case in point: the sampling of Lou Reed by A Tribe Called Quest. It’s the converging of two generations of music, two somewhat competing genres of music, and two different ideals of what music is. On one hand you have Mr. Reed, who was a cult hero to many music fans in the 60s and 70s as part of the Velvet Underground and on his own and was also famous for making songs that dipped into what was considered at the time the more underbelly-esque side of society: transvestites, open drug use, wavering ideals on male sexuality, hanging out with Andy Warhol, you name it. On the other, there’s the Almighty Tribe, heroes of Hip hop in the early and mid 90s that went against the grain of the hyper masculinity that had come to define rap during the Golden Age, but still very much a trio of straight up Queens, NY brothas that knew how to have a good time through the music. That’s part of what is still beautiful about Hip Hop…the fact that it can find inspiration from any genre of music under the sun and subsequently use sampled pieces of it to create something almost totally different. You can clearly hear the musical similarities in the songs, and even though the messages are starkly different, without Lou Reed’s classic track, Tribe wouldn’t have been able to make one of it’s most signature songs.

 

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