Bam Bam!: 12 Times Hip-Hop Sampled, Remixed + Flipped Sister Nancy

February 16, 2016

Pete Rock & CL Smooth – The Basement (1992)


One thing you can say about Kanye West is that he pays credit where it is due โ€” when it comes to other producers, at least. On โ€œFamous,โ€ he follows a path set by one of his biggest influences, Pete Rock, who sampled โ€œBam Bamโ€ on โ€œThe Basement,โ€ a deep cut from Rock’s classic 1992 album with CL Smooth, Mecca and the Soul Brother. (A track which also featured Rock’s Jamaican-born cousin, Heavy D, among other guests).

Kanye seems to pay homage to the legendary New York DJ, producer and rapper every few years, starting with a 2004 appearance on “Selfish” by Slum Village that saw him boast, โ€œThe way the beat rock, new version of Pete Rock.โ€ Rock would later team up with Kanye directly when Yeezy tapped him to produce โ€œThe Joy,โ€ a track from Kanyeโ€™s G.O.O.D. Fridays run in 2011, and later included on Watch The Throne.

In 1992, the same year he made a cameo on โ€œThe Basement,โ€ Heavy D dropped the hard-hitting โ€œTalk is Cheap,โ€ with an intro quoting lyrics one might note are similar to โ€œBam Bam,โ€ What the Heavster was actually referencing on theย Skeff Anselm-produced Blue Funk track, though, was the original โ€œBam Bam,โ€ sung by Toots and the Maytals in 1965, which Nancy referenced on her 1982 dancehall version. It is likely, though, that he was even more directly inspired by Pliers’ (more literal) cover version of โ€œBam Bam,โ€ a major dancehall hit in the early ’90s that the Mandeville, Jamaica native surely would have been aware of. (Dancehall songs, like those in hip-hop, are rarely completely original, with artists and producers constantly adapting and modernizing classic lyrics and rhythms)

In fact, Heavy always made a point to acknowledge his yardie roots โ€” as he did onย โ€œTalk is Cheap,โ€ warning his competition that they could catch a โ€œbam bamโ€ if they ever tried to โ€œdis di champion.โ€ RIP HEAVY D.