SAMPLED: Kid Cudi – "Immortal"
by Aaron Zorgel
March 7, 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, we’re breaking down the sped-up and reversed sample that acts as the musical backbone to the second single from Kid Cudi’s forthcoming album Inicud:
MGMT’s 2006 debut Oracular Spectacular was met with high critical praise and commercial success, based on the strength of catchy, electro-pop singles like “Time To Pretend,” “Electric Feel,” and “Kids.” Instead of offering up the same brand of skewed pop jams on their sophomore effort, MGMT threw the indie world a curveball in 2010, and dropped Congratulations, which featured a stylistic shift away from the synth-pop that they’d become known for, towards a more psychedelic, guitar-based sound. It was an audacious move, and though MGMT didn’t produce any chart-smashing singles this time around, the album performed well, and the band was applauded for being adventurous, when they could easily have cranked out Oracular Spectacular 2.0, and rode the wave of commercial endorsements and festival appearances for another album cycle.
The title track from Congratulations is an acoustic guitar-driven ballad, with spacious ornamental melodies, and an understated Flaming Lips-esque vocal melody. It’s the closing track on Congratulations, and somewhat fittingly, it ends with sparse but polite applause, almost like a self-administered pat on the back.
“Congratulations” by MGMT was recently sampled by the Cleveland-born King of moody, self-conscious rap, Kid Cudi, on “Immortal,” the second single from his third studio album, Inicud:
Admittedly, I didn’t have to look too far and wide in order to trace this sample:
Ok, so heres what I did. I took one of my favorite bands MGMT's song "Congratulations", put it in reverse, sped it up, and produced over it— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) March 1, 2013
Thank You so much to MGMT for clearing the sample. LOVE YOU GUYS!!— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) March 1, 2013
In 2010, Kid Cudi collaborated with MGMT on “Pursuit Of Happiness,” the Ratatat-produced slice of neo-psychedelia, so it’s no surprise that he’s chosen to sample one of their more introspective cuts for “Immortal,” a song about finding strength in moments of self-doubt. On the self-produced track, Kid Cudi flips the sample exactly as he describes in the above tweet; he chops the intro, reverses it, speeds it up, and adds synth stabs and drum programming to complete the arrangement.
It’s nice to hear Cudder flex a little self-confidence in this song, because he’s clearly still hitting his stride on the mic and behind the boards. Inicud is set to drop on April 23rd, and it’ll have features from Too $hort, RZA, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Hit-Boy and even the sisterly indie-rock band Haim.