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, we feature one of the most-sampled songs of all time, a drum break from the James Brown produced track “Think (About It)” by Lyn Collins:
Lyn Collins is a Texas-born funk, soul, and gospel singer who is best known for working with James Brown in the seventies. Collins was nicknamed “The Female Preacher,” and hooked up with the James Brown Revue in 1970, after sending the Godfather of Soul a demo tape. After a few recording sessions (one of which produced the single “Wheel Of Life“), Collins was invited to join the Revue as a featured and background vocalist in 1971.
James Brown’s label People Records released Lyn Collins’ debut solo effort Think (About It), which contained a mega-hit of a title track, which was co-written and produced by James Brown himself. This single would become a career highlight and a lasting legacy for Collins — since its release, the song has been sampled by literally 500+ hip-hop, R&B, and dance recordings. You’ll probably recognize it as the main vocal hook of this 1988 party rap classic:
Lyn Collins continued to record and tour with James Brown for the remainder of the seventies, and eventually became a session vocalist for hire. Searching for a comeback in the late eighties, Collins released a dance single called “Shout,” but wasn’t able to duplicate the success she found with “Think (About It).”
In February of 2005, Collins embarked on her first ever solo tour. Shortly after returning from a run of shows in Europe, The Female Preacher passed away at the age of 56 from a cardiac arrhythmia.
The iconic break from Lyn Collins’ “Think (About It)” was recently sampled in the first original Destiny’s Child music we’ve heard in eight years, “Nuclear,” produced by Pharrell Williams:
The members of Destiny’s Child disbanded in 2006 to pursue their own solo careers, and eight years later, the group has reformed to unveil brand new original music as part of a collection called Love Songs. “Nuclear” is produced by Neptunes-hitmaker Pharrell Williams, who uses a very recognizable drum break from “Think (About It)” as the main percussive element on the undeniably retro-sounding comeback single. It sounds like Pharrell has chopped a single bar sample from “Think” around 1:36 in the YouTube clip embedded at the top of this article, and used it as the main drum loop for “Nuclear,” which begins at 0:17 in the Destiny’s Child clip above.
The song, co-written by Michelle Williams and Pharrell Williams, sounds nothing like the Destiny’s Child we’re used to (it’s certainly not “Bootylicious 2013″), but we’ll take it. It’s expected that Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland will join Beyoncé on stage at her Super Bowl appearance, and run through a career-spanning medley that includes “Nuclear.” BUT WILL THEY LIP-SYNC? Who cares. If the E-Street Band had to play to a backing track, Destiny’s Child shouldn’t catch flack for singing to one.