Mon. Nov. 29, 2021

10 essential MLK sampled songs

10 essential MLK sampled songs10 essential MLK sampled songs… It’s that day of the year observed to commemorate the memory of one of the most influential characters in the recent times of the evolution of humanity. Martin Luther King, Jr. also known as MLK… A man whose legacy transcends the challenge of time going . This in a period when our environment sadly remains in prey to discriminations of all sorts. A man who, like Mahatma Gandhi or Sir Winston Churchill, stands among the very rare to have dared saying ‘No’ to what appeared as fatality to many of the contemporaries. Meanwhile paying his beliefs with his life on that sad day of Apr. 4, 1968 which saw him murdered at the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, at the age of 39.

He had a dream which he expressed in a memorable 17 minute + speech that took place 5 years before, as a part of the Washington March on Aug. 28, 1963. A speech regarded as one of the most famous ones in the history of American oratory. A speech that would contribute putting the Civil Right matters at the top of the agenda of reformers in America. And eventually facilitated the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the year after… It’s by no coincidence that Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s universal message would by echoed by many artists from then. As illustrated in our selection thereafter.

10 essential MLK sampled songs / Fingers Inc. – Can You Feel It? (Jack Trax)
Seen by many as the House anthem. Originally released as an instrumental by the likes of Mr Fingers (Larry Heard) on Chicago-based label Trax Records back in 1986. Some DJ’s would start using it as the backing track for the “in the beginning there was Jack” sermon by the likes of Chuck Roberts from Rhythm Controll‘s ‘My House’ in 1987). Or from Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s “I Have A Dream” speech, leading to the releases of these mash-ups in 1988/89.
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Santana – Somewhere In Heaven (Polydor)
The second cut in order of appearance from Santana‘s 16th studio album, ‘Milagro’ released back in 1992, starting with a sample of Martin’s Luther King, Jr.‘s ‘I Just Want To Do God’s Will’. Quite surprising from a band not particularly renown for embedding other people’s material in their repertoire. With another characteristic of this album being the fact that it happened to be the only studio album not owned by Sony Music Entertainment as of 2010. A song led by Scottish singer, guitarist and drummer Alex Ligertwood who happened to be a regular of the band (1979-1985, 1987, 1989–1991, 1992–1994).
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Maceo & The Macks – Soul Power 74 (Polydor)
Written by James Brown who recorded it with the original J.B.’s along with Fred Wesley. Then released as a three-part single in 1971. One of the most sampled cuts enlightened by one of the most famous sax parts in the history of contemporary music. A cut to which Maceo (Parker) & The Macks gave their own interpretation 3 years later. Probably also the first production ever to have embedded words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Wu-Tang Clan – Never Let Go (Asylum Records)
From the Clan‘s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ album released back in December 2014. A project which has sounded for quite some time like, as people say in French, l’Arlesienne. From the first anouncement of its recording back in June 2011… To its countless postponings because of scheduling problems between its various members. And the list goes on… Not to mention their differences of appreciation as to what this album stands for. As a result, the latter received quite mixed reviews. Supported by 3 singles (‘Keep Watch’, ‘Ron O’Neal’ and ‘Ruckus In B Minor’). The somehow cinematic ‘Never Let Go’ featuring a sample of MLK‘s ‘I Have A Dream’.
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Paul Simpson feat. Adeva (and introducing Carmen Marie) – Musical Freedom (Free At Last) (Cooltempo)
A cut which US producer Paul Simpson initially recorded with Candi Staton (‘You Got The Love’) prior deciding to do another version… This under the form of ‘Musical Freedom’ along with Adeva, that would get her under the spotlights right before the release of her solo material. Cleverly built on the juxtaposition of 2 famous samples. In other words, MLK‘s speech and Disco/Funk producer Tony Lee‘s classic ‘Reach Up’
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Bobby Womack – American Dream (Beverly Glen Music)
The final cut of Bobby Womack‘s 1984 released ‘The Poet II’ album. Enlightened by the presence of luminaries such as Patti LaBelle, George Benson (guitar) and Wilton Felder. But also Fred Wesley (horns) and Michael Wycoff (keyboards) to name but a few . Curiously it never saw the light as a single. Although sounding as the ideal soundtrack for the MLK Day. Bobby Womack‘s interpretation perfectly matching with some excerpts of Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s ‘I Have A Dream’…
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Reese & Santonio – Truth Of Self Evidence (KMS)
Here we go with another illustration of Martin Luther King. Jr.‘s universal influence… This time on the then emerging Detroit electronic music scene, along with one of its originators – Kevin ‘Master Reese’ Saunderson (Inner City) – and Santonio Echols. Was this Techno? Acid House??? Who cares! It would definitely become one of the underground anthems of 1988. And is still considered as a classic of the period nowadays…
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Boogie Down Productions – Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love) (Jive)
Despite the fact that MLK has been accepted by the world as the greatest name in the Civil Rights movement, many are those in the Afro-American community who tended to prefer Malcolm X and his more aggressive approach regarding the subject matters. Artists such as Public Enemy. But also Lawrence Kris ‘KRS-One’ Parker, Scott ‘La Rock’ Sterling and Derrick ‘D-Nice’ Jones, aka Boogie Down Productions. The latter sounding like more in the middle. Eventually sampling a part of King‘s other famous speech ‘I’ve Been Up To The Mountaintop’. This along with Jocelyn Brown‘s song of the likes on ‘Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love)’. From their 1990 released ‘Edutainment’ abum.
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Jesse’s Gang With Farley Funkin Keith – Real Love (Is This Real?) (Dub) (Jes Say Records)
Based in Chicago in the ’80s, Jesse’s Gang was an urban contemporary/House trio that was led by producer/songwriter and vocalist Jesse Saunders along with Duane Buford and Twala Dawn. Their 1986 released ‘Real Love’ became a local hit. Meanwhile standing at the croosroad between Electro/Breakdance and what was soon after to become House Music. It allowed them to release an album on Geffen Records.
10 essential MLK sampled songs / Full Force – The Dream Believer (CBS)
Formed in Brooklyn, NY back in 1979 by B-Fine, Shy Shy, Paul Anthony, Bowlegged Lou, ‘Curt-T-T’ Bedeau and Baby GerryFull Force established themselves as a solid reference in the R&B scene from the mid-80’s until the mid-90’s. Eventually joining forces with Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. Taken from their 1985 released eponymous debut-album, ‘The Dream Believer’ clearly showed their admiration for Dr King, meanwhile dedicated to his memory (and legacy)…

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