Sample Sunday Vol. 5: Wreckx-N-Effect and The Emotions

The following is a continuation of last week’s Sample Sunday, in which I examined the saxophone sample from “Rump Shaker.”

The Emotions were a sister act from Chicago initially consisting of Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette Hutchinson. They started up in the early 1960’s and their first single was 1962’s “Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney,” which, I assume, was based on a real-life event, because later singles included 1970’s “Black Christmas” and 1973’s “What do the Lonely do at Christmas.” When they weren’t revisiting whatever bizarre holiday trauma they went through as children, the Hutchinson sisters dropped hits like “Boogie Wonderland” (with Earth, Wind and Fire) and “Best of my Love,” which stayed at #1 on the pop charts for five weeks.

Not quite as well known, but very heavily sampled, is “Blind Alley,” from the 1971 album Untouched. You really only need to listen to the first ten seconds to hear the sampled part, but frankly, why would you do that? The Emotions are fantastic.

If that sounds familiar, it might be because it’s the non-saxophone music used by Wreckx-N-Effect in “Rump Shaker,” a phrase I’ve probably typed thirty times in the past two weeks, and zero times in the 850 previous ones.

I hope this serves to provide you with a sense of closure with regard to the musical compositions behind “Rump Shaker,” as doing so has always been one of my goals in life. Now, if it sounds familiar, but not because of “Rump Shaker,” maybe you recall hearing it in the background (you have to listen carefully, it’s consistent, just not as prominent) throughout Mariah Carey’s “Dream Lover.”

Note: Mariah has sampled The Emotions twice: Here, and in, well, “Emotions.”

Now, if you recognize it from somewhere, but not one of those two, maybe, just maybe, you recognize it from Big Daddy Kane’s 1988 anti-half-stepping anthem “Ain’t no Half-Steppin.” If you still aren’t sure where you know it from, I can’t help you, and you need to get over it, because we’ve moved on and you need to watch this video immediately.

“Ain’t no Half Steppin” contains a few of my favorite things:

1. A rapper who says what year it is
Why don’t rappers do this anymore? They used to do it constantly. How will future historians know when these songs came out?
2. Backup singers who don’t actually sing
In one setting in this video, the one where Kane performs in front of a birdcage with a candle in it (?), the backup singers appear to have hired a third non-singing backup singer for depth.
3. Backup dancers who look like they’re going on Double Dare
I have nothing else to add here.
4. The disappointed look on the guy’s face at 1:09 when he loses the obviously high-stakes card game.
And last, but certainly not least,
5. This line:

Don’t forget a conductor of poetry,
Et cetera et cetera, it ain’t easy being me.

If that’s what it takes to be Big Daddy Kane, or any poetry conductor, for that matter, doing so doesn’t seem that difficult at all.

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