Arts Desk

Six Go-Go Hits and the Songs That Sampled Them

Go-go doesn't usually grab headlines the way it has over the last two weeks. First, there was the news that Chuck Brown has been sidelined by pneumonia. And this week came word of a lawsuit against the Beastie Boys filed by TufAmerica, a group that oversees the rights to songs by Trouble Funk. The timing was poor on that one: The Beasties' Adam Yauch died last week; when asked by the Washington Post, Trouble Funk leader “Big Tony” Fisher said he hadn't heard about Yauch's passing, and didn't realize the Beasties had sampled his band throughout the album Paul's Boutique.

That record contains hundreds of samples—many of them uncleared—but it's certainly not the only place sounds from go-go's golden age have surfaced. Nelly, MC Hammer, and 2 Live Crew all built well-known songs from go-go samples; so has Wale. You can find dozens of more examples on the site whosampled.com. Here are a handful of my favorites.

Beck samples E.U.'s "Knock Him Out Sugar Ray" in "Where It's At": Like Paul's Boutique, Beck's Odelay was produced by the Dust Brothers, which may explain the percussive fill by E.U. that Beck approves by saying, "That was a good drum break."

Wale samples Backyard Band's "Girls" in "Pretty Girls": Obviously. Bonus points for bringing in Backyard's Weensey.

Jay-Z samples Rare Essence's "Overnight Scenario" in "Do It Again": For a millisecond, around 1:42.

Coldcut samples Trouble Funk's "Drop the Bomb" and "Pump Me Up" and Chuck Brown's "Bustin' Loose": The British DJ duo overachieved plenty in its 1987 single "Say Kids What Time Is It?," sampling three go-go classics and nearly two dozen other songs.

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  • art

    It is always interesting to me when I hear about lawsuits over go-go being sampled when a HUGE part of go-go is remaking other peoples songs and profiting from those remakes without compensating the original artists. What's good for the goose...?

  • REAL Native Washingtonian

    There is a staunch difference between profiting from a local marginal audience and profiting on an international platform.

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