Sunday, February 21, 2010

The 24-Carat Black – Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth | Soul Sample Sunday

Remember Soundtrack Sunday? It was a HHIR feature that kicked off just around the time that Blaxploitation Pride was popping off. As Self-Science’s site continued to pick up steam in the blogosphere, I decided to back off from the Soundtrack Sunday feature since it was Self-Science himself who shared the gigs upon gigs of soundtracks I downloaded off of Boxden (and shared here on HHIR). So… You want some Blaxploitation OSTs? You know where to find ‘em!

After some thought, I’m gonna (hopefully) try to stay consistent with a new feature called Soul Sample Sunday to substitute for Soundtrack Sunday. Soul Sample Sunday will highlight a soul album which was sampled heavily in hip hop. No download links (unless you request them/can’t find them elsewhere)! ;-D

The first installment in the new Soul Sample Sunday feature will take a quick look at The 24-Carat Black’s 1973 release Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. This Cincinnati soul group was originally known as The Ditalians, but changed their name upon the request of Dale Warren who helped them with their sole album – Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. A dark concept record which focused on urban poverty, Ghetto’s brilliance was overlooked in its own time. As fate would have it, the album witnessed its own resurrection in the 90s, sampled thoroughly on classic hip hop beats. The album was finally released on CD format in 1995.

One of the earliest hip hop tracks to sample The 24-Carat Black was Eric B. & Rakim’s “In the Ghetto”, off their 1990 album Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em. Submerged beneath a drum break from Bill Withers’ “Kissing My Love”, “In the Ghetto” features a looped portion from the beginning of The 24-Carat Black’s album’s title track. Other songs to lift from this particular song include Jill Scott’s “High Post Brotha” (featuring Common), Termanology’s Statik Selektah-produced “Nobody’s Smilin’” (a tribute to the aforementioned Eric B. & Rakim cut), Scarface’s 1998 track “The Geto” with K.B., Ice Cube and Willie D (the usage of the sample on this track is different from the rest) and more.

“Poverty’s Paradise” is another 24-Carat Black track which has been sampled frequently. In fact in 1995 it was on two Naughty by Nature tracks – kind of. Not only was “Poverty’s Paradise” sampled on the Naughty interlude track “Poverty’s Paradise” (on the album – you guessed it(!) – Poverty’s Paradise), the track was also looped on “Ain’t Nobody”, a Monica single featuring Naughty lead Treach. “Poverty’s Paradise” was also sampled twice by Three 6 Mafia: once in 1996 (“In-2-Deep”), and again in 2000 (“Lock Down”). Thankfully, Three 6 didn’t sample the same portion of the track, which boasts a lengthy runtime of over 12 minutes – plenty of room to find new sample-able material. Later in 2003, Bronze Nazareth sampled two separate portions from “Poverty’s Paradise” for RZA’s “The Birth” from his third solo album Birth of a Prince. The track features the intro portions from “Poverty’s Paradise” and later cleverly samples the vocals “ever since my birth I’ve had no one to care…” for the hook.

In 1996, Dr. Dre teamed up with the east coast’s golden boy, Nas, for the It Was Written track “Nas Is Coming”, deceptively covering The 24-Carat Black’s repetitive “mama’s coming” vocals off of “Synopsis Two: Mother’s Day” – a nod perhaps to the upcoming album by The Firm which was soon to follow. Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth also features a track titled “Mother’s Day” – not to be confused with “Synopsis Two” – which was sampled on Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt re-issue bonus track “Can I Live II” by K-Rob (the same producer who supplied Jay with the intro and outro tracks for Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter).


There are plenty more hip hop tracks where these came from and I’ve included some more below. But before that, I’d like to leave some room here for an unpaid-for advertisement for the Numero Group, an archival record label that has been cranking out soul gems since 2003/2004. A year ago they put out their 25th official release, Gone: The Promises of Yesterday, a collection of never before heard rarities from The 24-Carat Black. You can read more about the album here, as well as purchase it on MP3, CD and marvelous vinyl. Shouts to Aquarium Drunkard for the heads up!


C.L. Smooth - C.L. Smooth Unplugged
Digable Planets - Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
Dynas - Family Jewels (feat. Slick Rick)
Jay-Z - Reservoir Dogs (feat. Beanie Sigel, Sauce Money & The Lox)
Keith Murray - Herb is Pumpin'
Leaders of the New School - What's Next
Wale - The End Credits

Props as always to The-Breaks!


The 24-Carat Black - Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth
CD (reissue, 1995) / Vinyl (imported, 1999) / Canvas Poster Print

The 24-Carat Black - Gone: The Promises of Yesterday
CD / Vinyl