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Today Stevie Wonder turned 53 years young. In honor of the soul man’s birthday, I decided to select various hip-hop songs that have sampled Stevie Wonder’s music. Enjoy.

 

I can never get enough of the Madlib-MF Doom collaboration. Classic track from the duo. They sampled Stevie’s 1968 song, “How Can You Believe?”.

 

 

Dilla always seems to make Mixtape Monday – this time it’s a cut off his famous album Donuts. The Stevie sample is from the well-known song, “For Once In My Life”.

 

 

How about some old J. Cole to start the week? The beautiful loop you hear throughout this one is from the 1969 song, “My Cherie Amour”.

 

 

Let’s continue with the New York rap. Wu-tang up next. One of my favorite songs from Stevie, “Living for the City” is sampled by the Wu.

 

 

More from New York – but a different group: A Tribe Called Quest. New York loves some Stevie Wonder. The sampled is from “Sir Duke”.

 

 

From east coast to west coast. 2pac makes his Mixtape Monday debut, and gets the closer in this week’s edition. The Stevie song used is “Part Time Lover”

 

 

Enjoy your week all. Happy 53rd Stevie! Thanks for the great music, and the subsequent contributions to hip-hop.

 

 

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You read the headline correctly. Madlib’s alter-ego Quasimoto is making a comeback. Not much information out there, but I figured I would spread the news anyway. The new project was announced on Quasimoto’s Facebook page (see snapshot below). The new release will be called Yessir Whatever, which comes eight years after the 2005 album The Further Adventures of Lord Quas. Madlib’s other album under the Quasimoto pseudonym was The Unseen, which dropped in 2000. I can’t wait to see what Lord Quas has been brewing in the past eight years. Stay tuned for updates.

 

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Had to start off Mixtape Monday with a recent discovery. Traum Diggs knows smooth, crisp and classy. I stumbled upon this song, Sax Fifth Avenue Flow, on the rapper’s Twitter page. I’m all about this song and video. Diggs has the voice and flow for rap. The Brooklyn MC’s vocals float over the sax nicely. I’m looking forward to more stuff coming out from this dude, and you can bet I’m following him on Twitter from now on.


 

The MPC master, Pete Rock, does hip-hop and jazz a favor with this beat. This track is off the legendary 1992 album Mecca and the Soul Brother. Pete sampled one of my favorite Kool & the Gang funk tracks, “N.T.” but the jazz comes from Freddie McCoy’s “Gimmie Some!”

 

 

And what is Mixtape Monday without some Dilla? Here’s a nice jazzy tune for your eardrums. It’s hard not to like anything that Dilla churned out in his time. One of the most beloved (and missed) producers of all time, Yancey dug up some of the best music for his crates. In the above track, he sampled a 1970s jazz group called Placebo, which is actually a really popular group in the world of hip-hop samples. The song is called “Humpty Dumpty” off the album Ball of Eyes, if you’re interested in youtube-ing it. Pete Rock and Madlib have also sampled it.

  

 

Why not stay on the Dilla train? It changes weekly, but this track is one of my favorite Dilla productions at the moment (along with “Don’t Cry” – solely for the sentimental value and emotion behind it).  But this one here, “Didn’t Cha know” is gold; especially with the grace of Erykah Badu’s beautiful voice serenading our ears. Dilla samples another little-known artist, Tarika Blue, off their 1976 album Downtown. Digging up that sample was a testimony to Dilla’s knowledge of music. What a great collaboration on this. Overall Mama’s Gun is a phenomenal album – so you should peep the whole thing while you’re at it (there’s a gang of great producers on it).

 

 

One of my all-time favorite songs from my all-time favorite duo, The People Under the Stairs from L.A. On this track, Thes One and Double K cut up Billy Wooten’s xylophone rendition of “We’ve Only Just Begun.” The song came off Wooten’s 1972 album The Wooden Glass – a live set recorded in Indianapolis, and re-released on CD in 2004. I’ve been looking for the ’72 vinyl for a while now, but the cheapest price I’ve found is $90 (yes, it’s a rare record). Oh well, I’ll find it at some thrift shop for 99 cents sooner or later. I digress. Anyway, the People Under the Stairs looped a piece of the xylophone jam, threw a hot beat and groovy filter underneath, and sprinkled some vocals over it. Some of the lyrics on the song are my favorite from the duo, such as when Double K spits:

 

“I’m a fan of hip hop since E.U. and ‘Da Butt’ was in /

and my n***a Doug Fresh ran the show /

Three Times was Dope, and MTV was ‘YO!’ ”

 

Ahhh, those old-school references are refreshing. E.U.’s “Da Butt,” Three Times Dope (hip-hop group), and MTV’s ‘YO! Raps.’ And then Thes One gets all up in the second verse with more:

 

“Something for sophisticated 8th grade hip-hop taste /

For heads that remember the breakup of 3rd Bass /

Tribe, EPMD, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth /

Hear immense influence, they’re congruent in my grooves”

 

 

K. Dot’s currently the best rapper doing it right now, in my opinion. This one is off Kendrick’s first album Section 80. The album didn’t even sold 100,000 copies, but the hip hop world loved it. Especially with tracks like the [J. Cole-produced] “HiiiPower” “Poe Man’s Dream” “F**k Your Ethnicity” and this track here. On this cut, Kendrick goes off on the beat, laying down bars rapidly. Not much else to say here – just admire Kendrick’s flow over the upbeat trumpet.