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Friday Flips (Week 4) - Pat Streater Vs. Ahmad Jamal and Melvin Bliss | Takin' Mines
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Friday Flips (Week 4) – Pat Streater Vs. Ahmad Jamal and Melvin Bliss
By  |  03.15.2013  | 
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Yo it’s about that time, to bring forth the rhythm and the rhyme. Yes, I just quoted Marky Mark, but I’m feeling rather giggity giggity cause it’s Friday.. and you know what that means – it’s another installment of #FridayFlips beeitches. Now although we took a brief hiatus over the past two weeks, we’re back, and we got a real humdinger for ya’. This week, we breakdown Pat Streater‘s use of Ahmad Jamal‘s “The Awakening” on “Visionary Music,” from Manny, featuring J57. The song, which managed to make its rounds on the interweb earlier this week, also borrows the infamous Melvin Bliss “Synthetic Substitution” drum loop, which the homey Nathan S. of Refined Hype breaks down. That said, hold on to your seats kiddies, as we drop some more edutainment on that ass…


STREAM: Manny (feat. J57) – “Visionary Music” (prod. by Pat Streater)


Steez (Takin’ Mines):

“The Awakening” is the name given to the EP of the same title released by Ahmad Jamal Trio in 1970. It’s been used often throughout Hip-Hop’s rich sampling history, starting with DJ Premier in 1989 on “DJ Premier In Deep Concentration” off Gang Starr’s debut LP, No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989 Wild Pitch/EMI Records). Since then, the samples been used by the likes of Pete Rock, Da Beatminerz and most recently by Pat Streater on “Visionary Music.” So let’s get our fingers dusty and take a trip down memory lane as we explore how this sample’s been flipped through the ages..


1973: Ahmad Jamal Trio – “The Awakening”


As a turntablist, I’ve listened to “Deep Concentration” 1000’s of times (along with DJ Babu’s dedication version off Neighborhood Watch) and I’ve never picked up “The Awakening” sample which can first be heard at the three second marker, where DJ Premier speeds up a snippet of the sample found at the two second marker of “The Awakening.” My guess would be that Premo fed the snippet into his sampler off his turntables at 45 speed, cause it plays super fast, making it difficult to detect at first. Either way, this is the geniusness of a young Premo at work, prior to developing the sample flips and chops that he mastered in the early to mid 90s.


1989: Gang Star – “DJ Premier In Deep Concentration” (prod. by DJ Premier)


For the greater part of the early 90’s Ahmad Jamal’s “The Awakening” was hibernating until it was rediscovered by Pete Rock for the use of “It’s On You,” off The Main Ingredient, the sophomore LP from the now estranged dynamic duo that is Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Like many other classic samples, “The Awakening” has so many musical elements throughout the six minute and 21 second opus, that make it just a stomping ground for producer’s to pillage. For Pete’s sake (oh would ya’ look at that lol) the Chocolate Boy Wonder snagged a really soulful snippet that occurs at the 5:14 marker, which serves as the focal point of the record. Sample finds like this epitomize that classic soulful production style that has defined Pete Rock’s catalog throughout the years.


1994: Pete Rock & CL Smooth – “It’s On You” (prod. by Pete Rock)


In the same year that Nas unveiled Illmatic, arguably the best Hip-Hop album of all time, the burgeoning Queensbridge emcee was also featured on the soundtrack for the movie Street Fighter.. remember that?! I do, in fact, I remember ordering this CD along with several other jewels when I became a member of Columbia House Music Club smh. The movie might’ve been a bit sus, but man the soundtrack was real dope, which aside from Nas included Ice Cube, Ahmad, Ras Kass, Saafir, The Pharcyde, B.U.M.S., LL Cool J, Craig Mack, Public Enemy and more. Let’s also not forget about the Hammer and Deion Sanders collab for “Straight to My Feet” – actually, please.. let’s forget about that. I’ve been trying to find the producer credits so if anyone manages to find them, please feel free to chime in on the comment section. I came across a Djay Cas, but I’m not so sure how credible that find was, so I’ll omit the production credits until further notice. Well, whoever produced the track used the same snippet of the sample that Pete Rock used for “It’s On You” which dropped just a month before. The sample’s rather on trebly side, but counterbalanced with a really thick bass line that comes fully adorned with those classic sleigh bells that seemed to have really defined the sound of this era. Nas’ lyrics aside, the winner for using the same snippet of the same sample is gonna have to go to PR, who layers the instrumental with some female vocals and quotables from E.P.M.D’s “Strictly Business.”


1994: Nas – “1 on 1” [Street Fighter Soundtrack] (prod. by Djay Cas)


And the winner for best use of Ahmad Jamal’s “The Awakening” goes to the duo of DJ Evil Dee and Mr. Walt, aka Da Beatminerz, for their production on “Change” from the Brooklyn quartet, Shadez of Brooklyn. Consisting of members Chocolate Tye, Rev. Al, Tee Black, and Rambo, the group which had close ties to Da Beatminerz, had some strong 12″ titles back in the day.. don’t sleep on “Survival Wars,” to this day, that shit never ceases to amaze me. Despite their other material, their most notable release was “Change,” whose exposure reached a whole new audience after it was picked up on the classic NY Reality Check mixtape that dropped a year later. Presented by the legendary NY Graffiti artist Haze (responsible for the logos for Public Enemy, EPMD, Delicious Vinyl and MTV) and mixed by Wax Master Cee DJ Premier, I’d easily rank this in the top ten mixtapes of the decade. Back to the production.. Da Beatminzerz struck gold with the snippet off “The Awakening” which occurs at the 0:56 marker. By looping the piano with those crunchy snares over the quintessential “Yo stop frontin’ and use your head” quotable from “The Blastmaster” KRS-One, “Change” would become one of the standouts off Reality Check, along with J-Live’s “Braggin’ Writes,” Company Flow’s “8 Steps To Perfection” and of course “Metal Thangz.”


1996: Shadez of Brooklyn – “Change” (prod. by Da Beatminerz)


Haze Presents: New York Reality Check 101 (Mixed by DJ Premier)



– – –


Nathan S. (Refined Hype):

Great drum tracks are the offensive lineman of Hip-Hop; they’re often overlooked, but ultimately they’re the ones that either make a track move or stall.


So it’s no coincidence that so many producers, including Pat Streater, have turned to the drum work on Melvin Bliss’ “Synthetic Substitution”. When Bliss first recorded “Synthetic Substitutions” in 1973 he didn’t think much of it relegating it to a B-Side, and it would have likely stayed there in relative obscurity if it weren’t for the birth of hip-hop:


1973: Melvin Bliss – “Synthetic Substitution”


Historically, the most famous Hip-Hop example of a Bliss sample comes from the classic Ultramagnetic MC’s “Ego Trippin’”. Although impossible to prove, this is most likely the beat that would serve as the genesis of every Bliss sample to come. In fact, the Ultramagnetic MCs loved it so much they used it twice again, on “Moe Luv’s Theme” and “Watch Me Now.”


1986: Ultra Magnetic MC’s – “Ego Trippin'” (prod. by Ced Gee)


From there the drums on Bliss’ original would become, without exaggeration, perhaps the most widely used sample in hip-hop history. RZA was obviously a fan, using “Synthetic Substitutions” for both Wu-Tang tracks like “Clan in Da Front” and “Bring Da Ruckus”, but also some classic Ghostface production, including “Mighty Healthy”:


2000: Ghostface Killah – “Supreme Clientele” (prod. by RZA)


And of course that means that Kanye used Bliss as well for “New God Flow”, which transitions us into some more modern and more unexpected examples. Fabolous’ hit “You Be Killin ‘Em”? Yep, “Synthetic Substitutions”. 50 Cent’s latest attempt at a crossover hit, “My Life”? You guessed it, “Synthetic Substitutions”.


2012: 50 Cent (feat. Eminem & Adam Levine) – “My Life” (prod. by Symbolyc One)


Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, Danny Brown, De La Soul, Tupac, “Synthetic Substitutions” is a Hip-Hop unifier, uniting generations and styles under one hell of a snare line, which makes Pat Streater simply the latest (worthy) addition to that history. RIP Melvin Bliss.



“…and we outta here”


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Greg Grease – “Forward”



If you’ve managed to get this far during the week, you probably deserve a break. And what good timing to introduce Greg Grease‘s latest video for “Forward”, a stripped down, less-is-more banger that doesn’t need to be overdramatic to get it’s point across. Directed by Adam Dunn as a part of his #LABB (Lights and a Backdrop) series, the visuals are as minimalistic as it gets, allowing the Grease, his DJ and his turntable to play centre stage. Check it out and be sure to pick up Greg Grease’s Black King Cole EP if you don’t already own it.


  1. Blu & Nottz (feat. Rashad) – “End of the World”
  2. CJ Fly (feat. A La $oul & Phife Dawg) – “Seek Well”
  3. Boldy James (feat. Earl Sweatshirt, Da$h & Domo Genesis) – “Reform School” (prod. by The Alchemist)
  4. Danny Brown (feat. Scrufizzer) – “Dubstep”
  5. Black Milk – “Dismal”
  6. Alterbeats (feat. Guilty Simpson & The Rockness Monstah) – “Fruit Punch”
  7. Snow Tha Product (feat. CyHi The Prynce) – “Hold You Down”
  8. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Harold’s”
  9. Childish Gambino – “Yaphet Kotto”
  10. Stan Ipcus – “Wifey Material”
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