Each week in Sample Wars, we’ll pit two songs which sample the same source material head-to-head against each other, to determine which one rocked the sample better.
This week we’re being super timely, looking at Ciara’s “Body Party,” which shares musical DNA with the Diplomats’ “I Wanna Be Your Lady.” Both songs sample Ghost Town DJ’s 1996 smash “My Boo.”
“My Boo,” Ghost Town DJ’s, 1996: Ghost Town DJ’s are a quintessential one-hit wonder; if you weren’t paying really close attention, you might think they formed, recorded “My Boo,” and immediately dissipated into the ether. There’s an album too, for any serious bass-heads, but it doesn’t feature Virgo Williams, the track’s infectious lead singer. “My Boo” is a summer jam without parallel; in addition to Ciara and Dipset, its woozy synths, Miami-style bass, and sticky hook have provided inspiration and sample fodder to Mariah Carey, Pitbull, and Girl Talk.
“Body Party,” Ciara, Produced by Mike WiLL Made It, 2013: For “Body Party,” Mike WiLL puts “My Boo”‘s signature chord progression through what sound like the same sweeping filters he used on Jeremih’s epic “773 Love.” This guy is easily the most interesting producer in pop music right now, and he’s in fine form here: going half-time on the original sample, adding tumbling drums, spectral delay, and lots of reverb. Ciara’s riffs on “My Boo’s” “Boy you should know that…” hook are excellent as well.
“I Wanna Be Your Lady,” The Diplomats feat. Nicole Wray, Produced by The Heatmakerz, 2004: “I Wanna Be Your Lady” actually interpolates “My Boo” (as opposed to sampling it), but the interpolation is thorough enough to merit inclusion here. The track opens with the Heatmakerz doing their best Ghost Town DJ’s impression and Nicole Wray doing her best Virgo Williams impression, moves into J.R. Writer doing his best Cam’ron impression, and closes with Cam’ron also doing his best Cam’ron impression.
The Verdict: Ciara and Mike WiLL win by a mile here, turning an iconic party jam into a slinky sex jam that’s just as good. Rich Juzwiak rightly compares Ciara’s performance to Janet Jackson; it’s a far cry from her (also excellent) early-’00s future-funk past, and a testament to her range as a performer. Plus, there’s no way I’d snub a song that features Future, no matter how buried in the mix his ad libs are.