Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy Birthday 'to' Me: 22 Two's

Another year, another birthday, just another number. Another sample set? Sort of. Courtesy of blog pals Dan Love and Thomas, I was finally able to get a hold of the sample used for Jay-Z’s “22 Two’s” from his debut (and best) album Reasonable Doubt. Since I’d be updating the set and re-posting it conspicuously on my 22nd birthday, I figured I’d run through all the tracks and see if everything was still holding up.

I reworked some of the mastering on the tracks and replaced some vinyl rips with better-quality MP3s I could track down. I also made a couple more edits to the tracklisting. First, I got rid of one of the Lonnie Liston Smith versions of “A Garden of Peace”. I had left two versions on the original release of the sample set since I wasn’t sure which one was sampled by Ski. But after a little more investigating, I learned that the version I needed was from Smith’s 1979 record Dreams of Tomorrow. So that’s one track in (John Kaizan Neptune’s “Blue Wind” – the sample for “22 Two’s) and one track out. But there was a little more work to be completed, and this one gave me a sigh of relief after it was all said and done.

If you recall, the original release of this set contained two tracks titled “Hey What’s That You Say?”, erroneously tagged (as ashamed as I am to admit it). “Hey What’s That You Say?”, a cover of the Skull Snaps’ “It’s a New Day”, was sampled for Jay’s “Friend or Foe”. The track which had been included in the original set (which was in fact the song sampled for “Friend or Foe”) was mistakenly credited to Wood, Brass & Steel. Wrong. I can now state with definitive certainty that the track that was sampled for “Friend or Foe” was by Brother to Brother. Now here’s where it gets kind of tricky. Both the Wood, Brass & Steel and Brother to Brother versions of “Hey What’s That You Say?” sound nearly identical in this regard: they’ve got the exact same backing track! The only thing that’s different is the lead singer. Here’s the Wood, Brass & Steel version of the song:

As you can tell, the introductory horn riff (which was sampled for “Friend or Foe”) is covered by some vocals. However, if you listen to the Brother to Brother version of the track (now proudly represented in the updated set), vocals are entirely absent from this period in the song. Just that lovely horn selection looped beneath Jay’s threatening bars! So long story short: all internet sample sites (ours included) which listed both the Wood, Brass & Steel and Brother to Brother versions as the sample(s) for “Friend or Foe” got it just half wrong, or half right. And now Hip Hop Is Read’s Reasonable Doubt sample set is one step closer to perfection. All we need now is the string sample for “Bring It On”…

And that’s “22 Two’s” for y’all… Yah’mean!?!? :D

How crazy is this:
By coincidence, Reasonable Doubt was our 22nd sample set!


  1. happy 22d!!! finding out that you are only 22really makes what you do and offer here nothing short of genius. i assumed you were an older head and that explained the knowledge of the music and where it is sampled from. like i said, happy bday and i appreciate your work. peace.

  2. Happy Birthday Ivan!

    What a great way to celebrate it on your blog. I hope you have a great day!

  3. Enjoy the born day!

  4. You definitely put the work in. One day you will get your reward but for now you'll just have to be happy to have our admiration and respect as HHIR readers.

  5. Yom Huledet, my man. 22, cotdamn.

  6. Celebrate like there are more tommorrows to come!!! Take fun in the Born day!!!!

  7. wuts good Ivan, today is my birthday also, you got 2 years on me tho haha.

    happy born day fam. be easy and keep doin ya thing. peace.

    (BTW, posted at 2:22AM lol, you went all out.)

  8. Happy 22 years, Ivan! I have already told you that you are the shit. Much respect and love.

  9. blimey I thought you were like 40

  10. Happy birthday Ivan!

    lol seem like it wasn't so long ago that you turned 21, round election time I think it was.

    Time flys, hope you have a great birthday!

  11. Happy birthday, Ivan! ;)

  12. Happy Birthday Ivan!

    btw, do you listen to your drop box anymore?

  13. Happy birthday!
    The age of 22 can be great:
    We are getting old only in our head.