Sample Wars: Chance the Rapper vs. Slum Village

May 2, 2013 | Andy Cush

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’s Sample Wars presents a novel case. Like usual, both Chance the Rapper’s “Everybody’s Something” (released this week on his new mixtape Acid Rap) and Slum Village’s “Fall In Love” sample the same source material–jazz keyboardist and bandleader Gap Mangione’s lushly arranged 1968 cut “Diana in the Autumn Wind” –but Chance’s track is also a clear homage to the Slum Village song, sampling the late Baatin’s opening bars as well as what sounds like a screwed version of the same drum loop.

“Diana in the Autumn Wind,” Gap Mangione, 1968 (sample appears at :37): Like his considerably more famous younger brother Chuck, Gap Mangione mostly recorded mellow, easily palatable jazz that harkened back to music of a bygone era–a far cry from what jazz’s most adventurous minds were doing at around the same time. “Diana in the Autumn Wind” is no exception, blending lively big-band passages with lounge-y wailing sax and muted electric guitar. In addition to these two tracks, “Diana” has also been sampled in a Flying Lotus tribute to J Dilla (who produced the Slum Village track) and a Madlib-produced cut for his Dilla collaboration Jaylib.

“Fall in Love,” Slum Village, 2000, produced by J Dilla, 2000 (sample appears at :05): The “Fall In Love” beat is classic Dilla, two perfect loops, layered, with not much else. As usual, rappers Baatin and T3 are far from outstanding, but manage to ride Dilla’s excellent beat without getting in the way. As for the drums: producer Jake One thinks they’re lifted from Iron Butterfly’s “Soldier in Our Town.” If he’s right, Dilla wisely sped them up, giving “Fall In Love” a brisk tempo to foil the relaxedness of the rest of the track.

“Everybody’s Something,” Chance the Rapper, produced by DJ Ozone, 2013 (sample appears at :00):As noted above, “Everybody’s Something” is at least in a sense a tribute to Dilla and Slum Village. Producer DJ Ozone almost surely first heard the Gap Mangione loop through Dilla, and in case there was any confusion about that, he also samples a few bars of vocals from “Fall In Love.” The beat here slows the tempo way down, which, in the hands of a rapper without Chance’s hyper-enthusiastic, syncopated cadence, would render things unbearably chilled-out. Chance kills, delivering verses that mix humor with pathos, touching on Fox News, the Rolling Stones, Jesus’s Twitter account, being told he “talks white,” and “studious gluteus Maxim models.” Yes.

The Verdict: A draw. Chance and Ozone’s track wouldn’t exist without Slum Village and J Dilla, but frankly, the up-and-comer raps circles around Baatin and T3, “conscious” without being proselytizing, bouncing seamlessly between straight rap and sing-song melodies, and it feels like he barely broke a sweat doing it. I haven’t had the chance to listen to Acid Rap in full yet, but if the rest of it sounds anything like this, I already love it.