Samples: before and after

This is the first in what I plan on making a recurring feature on this blog. It sort of marries my interests in hip-hop and vinyl. Basically, I’ll link a hip-hop song and — if I own it or can find it on vinyl — I’ll digitize the sample used in said song. Why? Because I can. And (not to sound too righteous) because I think it’s important that the original song is given its due in its original form.

That’s why I chose Kanye West’s Gold Digger as my first selection. I gotta say, I was at first excited to hear he used a great Ray Charles song I Got a Woman as the main loop. That is, until I heard Jamie Foxx alter the lyrics in the opening (sigh):

Jamie Foxx/Kanye West: “She takes my money when I’m in need / yeah she’s a trifling friend indeed”
Ray Charles: “She gives me money when I’m in need / yeah she’s a kind of friend indeed”

If you ask me, Ray’s vision of the song is totally lost here. He was writing an ode to his woman. Kanye’s is a knock on women. This is what happens when Jamie Foxx gets involved.

You be the judge:

Kanye West | Gold Digger
Ray Charles | I Got a Woman

6 thoughts on “Samples: before and after”

  1. I think it was a great use of a sample while still inserting one’s own vision… Why has someone gotta practically do a rap cover of a Ray song? No point.
    Also West probably doesn’t have the same type of relationships w/ women as Ray did…. I just wanna know who West is talking about b/c it seems like he is specifically rhyming about someone… he drops a lot of clues.

    Anyways–If your looking to have topics like this one (almost a beat-digger blog) then there are pleanty of other great soul/funk samples used on that West album… even sampled-samples like (forget the name.. track..7, I think?) the sample used by Dre and 2Pac is interestingly reused in full by West…

  2. I’m honestly confused by how Jamie Foxx’s involvement would necessitate woman-bashing. But I do know that Ray Charles wasn’t exactly great to the ladies in his day. I love this song (even if one of the lines talks about how the woman’s place is right there in her home) and I’m not even a big Kanye West fan but…come on, now.

  3. I think the Kanye comparison I would have made would have been “Touch the Sky” vs. Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.”

    As to the comparison you noted, I’m curious why you think Kanye West necessarily should have preserved Ray Charles’ “vision” in the first place. I think both songs are great in their own right.

    Also, the John Mayer Trio covers the original, and John Mayer was involved in the Late Registration sessions. I wonder if one artist introduced the song to the other.

  4. some of you may have also heard diplo (he of hollertronix, AEIOU and soon to be released Fabric Live 24) has done a remix of ray’s original version. personally, i really like it, but probably because i much prefer the more positive lyric… don’t ask me why, it’s a first for me!

  5. I think Foxx sings, “She gives me money.” The point is the guy the woman’s diggin’ is poor.

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