Anatomy of a Sample: Al Hirt


I love that I found this in some antique store with a grip of CTI releases.

Let’s take it back to ’94, Gangsta Rap is still in full effect, W’s all getting thrown up in your area still. Those crazy cats from LI drop Buhloone Mindstate and this single: “Ego Trippin’ (Part 2). Never a Part 1 son, just a nod to the Ultramagnetic MC’s as De La stir up a bit of controversy with a parody of splashing around in a hot tub, scantily clad ladies, and generally mocking the state of that particular genre of Hip Hop. It didn’t go unnoticed, as TuPac and Ice Cube would speak up in reaction to this piece of East Coast Hip Hop genius. The song itself is driven by the Al Hirt sample “Harlem Hendoo” off of his Soul in the Horn Lp. Hirt, the Louisiana trumpeter and band leader who made Alan Toussaint’s “Java” famous, was also known for TV themes, Dixieland, Swing, and a minority owner of the New Orleans Saints. You can find a lot of Al Hirt records and not get what Prince Paul flipped on this side. It’s like looking for that Enoch Light sample by the Beatnuts, a needle in a haystack. However, Paul scooped it up and used this sample quite well. Along with UMC, T.R.O.Y., Kriss Kross, and Big Daddy Kane (Heatwave sample) references, add Philly rapper Shorty Mas (who sported a Shorty’s skate shirt in the video along with classic Fresh Jive gear by Trugoy), and you’ve got the makings of a classic Hip Hop tune. This is one record that does not leave my record box.

“That’s how you go from New Orleans, Louisiana to Long Island, NY to Philadelphia, PA back to Brooklyn, NY and finally to Leeds, UK on a Monday morning..”

Fast forward to 2004. The Roots release The Tipping Point. By this time, the Roots are the top live Hip Hop band of all time, touring excessively and still putting out records that bang. Some say that it may be their most commercial record to date. “I got the soul of a young Sam Cooke when I spit. It makes me want to make a new dance up. There’s not another sound system rocking as steady as us” Those are the lines that resonate with me. The Roots have naturally progressed from underground heroes to raising the bar in what real Hip Hop should sound like. They had some help from Scott Storch who co-produced with ?uestlove on this jawn as well, so I don’t think that was a bad thing at the time. Moving along to 2008, Brooklyn’s own Damu the Fudgemonk brought the “Harlem Hendoo” sample back into the spotlight with “Ego Troopin’ ” off of his release Spare. Damu is known for making some really tight beats. In fact, the guy is a workhorse on the MPC. Check him out over at WonkaBeats and ReDefinition Records here.

Last but not least, we come full circle, as Nightmares On Wax samples De La Soul’s “Ego Trippin (Part 2)” on “Damn” from 2006. The De La and Al Hirt sample are definitely prevalent through the murky early samples, and when the hard hitting drums come in, it’s on. A perfect tribute to both the original artist and the sampled artist, while still keeping the sample fresh. I guess a collabo with De La Soul didn’t hurt either. His (DJ E.A.S.E.) DJ Kicks DJ mix on K7 is the bomb as well.

So that’s how you go from Louisiana to Long Island to Philadelphia to Brooklyn and finally to Leeds, UK on a Monday morning. Enjoy the original plus all four variation and usage of the samples. As always, Keep Diggin’!

Al Hirt – Harlem Hendoo

De La Soul – Ego Trippin (Part 2)

The Roots – Stay Cool

Damu the Fudgemunk – Ego Troopin’

Nightmares on Wax – Damn

One response to “Anatomy of a Sample: Al Hirt

  1. Pingback: Ronnie Laws & Pressure – Tell Me Something Good | Flea Market Funk·

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