Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kon & Amir's TERRIBLE List of the '50 Greatest Samples'

I'm not too big on lists, which is why I'd never even attempt to come up with what Complex just posted on their site. They commissioned Kon & Amir to conjure up some sort of definitive 'greatest samples' list. This one had "fail just waiting to happen" written all over it. For what it's worth it's a commendable effort, no doubt, with lots of great history and great music. But they let quite a few classics slip through the cracks. Way too many if you ask me. And if you ask me, I'd like to think that my resume speaks for itself, so I'll speak on it, kay?

In an effort to simplify things, I've recreated the list in text form below. In order to do this I had to click onto a new Complex page 50 times. In case you're too bored to do that yourself or, like me, you wanna dwindle Complex's optimal ad revenue as much as you can (I keed, I keed), check it out:
50 David Axelrod - Holy Thursday
49 Les Demerle - A Day in the Life
48 Clyde McPhatter - Mixed Up Cup
47 The J.B.'s - The Grunt
46 Bob Azzam - Rain Rain Away
45 Richard Popcorn Whylie - Both Ends Against the Middle
44 Monty Alexander - Love and Happiness
43 David Axelrod - A Divine Image
42 Brian Bennett - Solstice
41 Placebo - Humpty Dumpty
40 David McCullum - The Edge
39 Brethren - Outside Love
38 Eugene McDaniels - Jagger the Dagger
37 Third Guitar - Baby Don't Cry
36 Billy Garner - I Got Some
35 Heath Bros. - Smilin' Billy Suite Pt. II
34 Billy Brooks - Forty Days
33 Jack Wilkins - Red Clay
32 Gwen McCrae - 90% of Me is You
31 Weldon Irvine - We Gettin' Down
30 Tom Scott - Today
29 24 Carat Black - Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth
28 Minnie Riperton - Inside My Love
27 Ray Bryant - Up Above the Rock
26 Ronnie Foster - Mystic Brew
25 Kool and the Gang - Who's Gonna Take the Weight
24 Bernard Wright - Haboglabotriben
23 Manzel - Space Funk
22 James Brown - Mind Power
21 The Meters - Look-ka Py Py
20 The J.B.'s - Pass the Peas
19 Isaac Hayes - Walk on By
18 Bill Doggett - Honky Tonk Popcorn
17 Thunder and Lightnin' - Bumpin' Bus Stop
16 Cymande - The Message
15 Kool and the Gang - Let the Music Take Your Mind
14 Kid Dynamite - Uphill Peace of Mind
13 Babe Ruth - Mexican
12 The Ohio Players - Funky Worm
11 Foster Sylvers - Misdemeanor
10 Kool and the Gang - Chocolate Buttermilk
9 Maceo & the Macks - Soul Power '74
8 The Meters - Cardova
7 James Brown - Funky President
6 Manzel - Midnight Theme
5 Isaac Hayes - Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic
4 James Brown - Give It Up or Turnit a Loose (Remix)
3 Skull Snaps - It's a New Day
2 Melvin Bliss - Synthetic Substitution
1 The Honey Drippers - Impeach the President
Decent list, right? Ehhhhhh..... Please explain to me why the following classics are nowhere to be found (exclamation points have been liberally added to denote my fury for not seeing them on the list above):
Aerosmith – Walk This Way
Ahmad Jamal - Swahililand(!!)
Audio Two - Top Billin'(!!!)
Average White Band - School Boy Crush(!!!!)
B.T. Express - If It Don't Turn You On (You Ought to Leave It Alone)
Baby Huey - Hard Times(!!!!!)
Barry White - Mellow Mood, Pt. I(!!!)
Billy Squier – The Big Beat
Bob James - Nautilus(!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Bob James - Take Me to the Mardi Gras(!!!!!!!!)
Bobby Byrd - Hot Pants (I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming)(!!!!!!!!!)
Captain Sky – Super Sperm
David Bowie - Fame(!!!!)
David Porter - I'm Afraid the Masquerade is Over(!!)
Dexter Wansel – Theme from the Planets
Dyke & The Blazers - Let a Woman Be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man(!!!!!!)
Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s - Blow Your Head(!!!!!!)
Funkadelic - Good Ole Music(!!!!!!)
Funkadelic - Knot Just (Knee Deep)(!!!!!!!)
George Clinton - Atomic Dog(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Idris Muhammad - Crab Apple
Incredible Bongo Band - Apache(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
James Brown - Funky Drummer(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
James Brown - Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)(!!!!!!!!!)
Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun
Joe Cocker - Woman to Woman(!!)
Joe Tex – Papa Was Too (Live)(!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Kool And The Gang – N.T.(!!!!!)
Little Feat - Fool Yourself(!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Lonnie Liston Smith - Spinning Wheel
Lou Donalson – Ode to Billy Joe(!!!)
Lowell Fulsom – Tramp(!!!!!!!!!!!)
Lyn Collins - Think (About It)(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Malcolm McLaren - Buffalo Gals(!!!!!!!)
Malcolm McLaren - Hobo(!!!!!!!!)
Marva Whitney - It's My Thing(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Michael Jackson - Ain't No Sunshine(!)
Michael Jackson - Human Nature
Mountain - Long Red (Live)(!!!!!!!)
Ohio Players - Ecstasy(!!!!)
Parliament - Aquaboogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)(!!)
Parliament - Flashlight(!!!!!)
Power of Zeus – The Sorcerer of Isis
Rick James - Mary Jane(!!!!!!!!)
Ronnie Hudson - West Coast Poplock(!!!!!!!!)
Rotary Connection - Memory Band
Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin(!!!!)
Slick Rick & Doug E Fresh - La-Di-Da-Di(!!!!!!!)
Sly & The Family Stone – Sing a Simple Song(!!!!)
Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle(!!!)
Steve Miller Band - Take the Money and Run(!!!!!!!!!)
Stevie Wonder - Pastime Paradise
Syl Johnson - Different Strokes(!!)
Teddy Pendergrass - Love T.K.O.(!!!)
The Blackbyrds - Rock Creek Park
The Commodores - Assembly Line(!!!)
The Dramatics - Get Up & Get Down
The Emotions - Blind Alley(!!)
The Emotions - I Like It(!!!)
The Fatback Band - Backstrokin'(!!!!)
The Five Stairsteps - Don't Change Your Love(!)
The Isley Brothers - Between the Sheets(!!!!!!!)
The J.B.'s - Gimme Some More
The Meters - Rigor Mortis(!!!!)
The Mohawks - The Champ(!!!!!!!!!!!!)
The O'Jays - Cry Together
The Soul Children - I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To (Jesse Jackson)(!!!!!!!!)
The Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip
The Trammps - Rubber Band
The Whatnauts - Why Can't People Be Colors Too
The Winstons – Amen Brother(!!!!!!!!!!)
Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love
Vaughan Mason & Crew - Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll(!!!!!!!!!)
Willie Hutch - Overture of Foxy Brown(!!!)
Wilson Pickett - Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9
Zapp - More Bounce to the Ounce(!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Zapp & Roger - Computer Love(!!!)
Now lemme just point this out: I came up with this list at work. During my lunch break. Uh-huh. Just sayin'...


  1. Everything in life is subjective except 1) being a pedo is wrong and 2) funky drummer is the greatest sample ever

  2. @silvamore RT 2) funky drummer is the greatest sample ever

  3. I think it's a travesty that BOTH of you forgot Otis Redding - Hard to Handle

    that needs like a thousand !!!!'s

  4. BUT, i do agree that the Complex list was horrrrrible

  5. ^ LOL! Cut me some slack, homie. I came up with that list while eating some dinner leftovers (red trout teriyaki in case you were wondering) at my desk.

  6. haha oh man well in that case, NOT BAD for off the top!

    I'm just glad someone else thought that list was terrible.

  7. what is a sample?

  8. Their exclusion of Bob James - Nautilus and JB's-"Funky drummer" were damn right egregious. Good list Ivan.
    I would include;

    Coke Escovedo - "(Runaway) I Wouldn't Change A Thing"
    Jackson 5 - "It's Great To Be Here"
    Lou Donaldson - "Who's Making Love"


  9. I would wholeheartedly agree with the number of Atomic Dog exclamation points. Though there were some West Coasters on the list, I would say it's a little biased to the East, particularly towards Tribe (not that there's anything wrong with being biased towards Tribe.) All in all it was an aight list tho, and I liked the format.

  10. Atomic Dog - West Coast staple.
    Funky Drummer - How many examples?
    Big Beat - Rick Rubin says hi.

    Complex fails at lists tbf.

    Good for the lady pics though...

  11. I think the article's title is misleading - it should be something like the greatest records used on 90s classics. Personally I think that Kon & Amir's article was a far more interesting read than another list of the usual suspects, the UBB and CTI records, which has been done to death since Blues & Soul magazine put out Bambaataa's favourite breaks list in '88.

  12. ^ If it was "the greatest records used on 90s classics", you'd expect "Juicy Fruit" by Mtume to be on there though, wouldn't you? I would. This list FAILS on so many levels. Great idea, lots of effort spent (clearly), but poor foresight and execution.

  13. wack ass motherfuckers.

  14. i agree w/ toilet.
    i enjoyed their stories about the more obscure records. i know about the typical records ad nauseum. plus i appreciated the soundclips for the source and hiphop songs.
    maybe they should do another 50...

  15. Thing is... If they named it "Kon & Amir's Favorite Samples", I guarantee that MUCH less people would've checked out the site --> visited Complex --> expanded Complex's ad revenue. It's all about catchy titles these days. Huffington Post, one of my most-visited sites, does it on a daily basis. That's the way it is. But there's two sides to that coin. SINCE they call it the "greatest samples" list, I'll hold them and their credibility to the fire.... until they call it "my personal favorites" list instead.

  16. the waaaambulance is on the way.
    do yall really know what your speaking on ?
    you mad cuz top billin aint on the list, yet impeach made it to # 1 !! what do you think top billin is ?
    atomic dog= p-funk aka plainfield new jersey =a ny/ nj group not from cali.
    zapp= ohio not cali.

  17. ^ I had this discussion with DJ Jaycee. Even if you strip away the Honey Drippers break from Top Billin, that track has STILL been sampled countless times by artists like 50 Cent, Biggie, Redman, Method Man, Das EFX, on and on...

    In respect to Parliament, Funkadelic, George Clinton, Zapp and so on, those sample sources, while not originating from the west coast, were STAPLES in thw est coast. That was the point. I see your waaaambulance and I raise you a GTFOH!

  18. yo ivan, do you think you could make these 2 into sample sets. that would be a great way to really let the people hear (and decide) for themselves!

  19. ^ If I ever do something like that it'd be MY OWN list. We'll see...

  20. Complex had a super-biased lame-ass list of "100 greatest hip hop albums", and it had left off a bunch of staples, as if the article was written by a guy in a room by himself with no input from the outside world except what was on his ipod.

  21. And not one Get out my life woman!

  22. I had this discussion with DJ Jaycee. Even if you strip away the Honey Drippers break from Top Billin, that track has STILL been sampled countless times by artists like 50 Cent, Biggie, Redman, Method Man, Das EFX, on and on...

    your logic isnt making sense here.
    listing a rap song as a sample source should be an auto fail. you want them to credit " go brooklyn" ?
    the root of the sample source is what should be credited, with out that youd have nothing.
    your upset with the fact that tons of well known (never state the obvious) "breaks" arent included, yet you want to credit top billin and not impeach. C'mon son.

    on track, as a series focused on NOT putting well known samples like atomic dog, human nature and countless corny ass submissions on your pre-school "list" and so on.
    if your "list" translated to a cd it would be boring and predictable.. and back when break cds were all the rage...youd have gotten no love.
    go back and listen to the on track series for some of the greatest samples. i think they covered the bases. that is testament to what is really going on.

    the waaaambulance ran you over years ago when you still had no idea about records beyond ubb.

  23. "listing a rap song as a sample source should be an auto fail"


    "you want to credit top billin and not impeach"

    What are smoking? When did I say "not" Impeach the President? My list has all the tracks that SHOULD have been considered. It's a complimentary list to Kon & Amir's, not a substitution. Anybody coulda/shoulda figured that out. OF COURSE "Impeach the President" should be on the list....

    "if your "list" translated to a cd it would be boring and predictable"

    That's why it's not a CD, numbnuts. It's a list.

  24. Sorry dude, but your list is full of stuff everyone knows. Kon & Amir's list is not thaaat deep either, but at least I was able to get hipped to a few things I didn't know... while I know and have everything on your list.

    1. I think that's the point,they comprised a list of songs that EVERYONE knows and EVERYONE had SAMPLED, that's why they call these lists the most sampled tracks in hip hop. These are really famous samples that everyone is supposed to know.

  25. A "Greatest" list SHOULDN'T surprise you. That's the point.

  26. I say Big Beat: Rubin used it for a reason,Jay-Z next to all the real guys use it, dig it!

  27. Honeybee by the New Birth should be on one of these lists. I also feel that some more David Axelrod should be listed. Alot of his work has been sampled over the years.

  28. they got paid to make this list for readers of complex magazine...that means, people that listen to, and jock mainstream golden age hip hop. they could've thrown any run-of-the-mill break that everyone-and-their-moms samples and gotten away with it. i'm sure they know know of hundreds of samples that are much better than any on the aforementioned list; maybe it's better for everyone that they release a list of breaks that everyone already knows about and keep the real gems hidden.