SAMPLED: A$AP Rocky – "1 Train" feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, YelaWolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, & Big K.R.I.T.
by Aaron Zorgel
January 3, 2013
SAMPLED examines the skeletal production of a contemporary rap, R&B, hip-hop or pop song — Where did the loop, sample, or chopped up vocal providing the backbone originate? SAMPLED gives you the history, the context, and the insight.
This week, the sample is taken from Syrian musical artist Asalah Nasri’s 2003 song “Misheit Senin”:
It would be foolish of me to act like I’ve got any kind of authoritative knowledge regarding Arabic music (it kind of starts and ends at “You are now listening to araabMUZIK,” which I’m pretty sure doesn’t count), so I’ll just try to give you a quick rundown of what I was able to glean from at least twenty minutes of fervent Google and Wikipedia scouring. Very professional, right? Hey, at least I’m saving you the trip to Bing.
Known to her fans as The Queen Asalah, Asalah Nasri was born to a middle class family in Demascus, Syria. Asalah was raised in a very artistic environment, encouraged by the creativity her father Mustapha Nasri exhibited as an esteemed Syrian composer and vocalist. Asalah refined her talents at school, and began her professional career singing the theme song for a Syrian television show called Hekayat Alamia, which as far as I can tell, is a children’s cartoon that tells fables and stories of Syrian heritage in ten minute episodes.
Asalah has released over twenty albums since 1991, experimenting within many different genres and dialects, with her latest effort (Shakhsiya Aneeda, 2012) acting as a collaboration between herself and some of the biggest forces in Arabic music, including Tarek Madkour and Hossam Habib. This is the first time Nasri has incorporated elements of dance, latin, and house music into her typically traditional Arabic sound.
“Misheit Senin” appears on the 2003 album Qad El Horoof, and demonstrates Asalah Nasri’s impressively operatic vocal stylings.
Hey, now we all know a little bit about one traditional Arabic musical act. Good job, everyone.
“Meshet Senin” was recently sampled by Hit-Boy on the completely stacked posse cut “1 Train,” from Long.Live.A$AP:
Leave it to Hit-Boy to make me go Googlin’. Even though the California-born producer started getting behind the mic last year (we hated it), he still placed a handful of show-stopping beats in 2012. “Backseat Freestyle,” “Come On A Cone,” and “Clique” were all on repeat until the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, and the first official Hit-Boy beat of 2013 is A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP posse cut “1 Train.”
This six minute opus is host to seven stellar verses, including the show stealing finale by Big K.R.I.T., so all Hit-Boy really needed to do was find the perfect loop. On “1 Train,” Hit-Boy chops a very brief section from the intro of “Misheit Senin” (Listen at 0:15 on the above YouTube clip to hear it). With a little slicing and dicing and a subtle pitch bump, Hit-Boy crafts an infectious groove that all seven rappers have no trouble spitting over. It’s one of the most obscure sample flips I’ve seen in ages.