This Thursday funk favorites Average White Band take the stage at BB Kings average white bandness. While their songs have echoed through the decades both on radio as well as through climactic scenes in film and television, their contributions to hip-hop have been somewhat understated. Fact is, they’re sampled on some of the genre’s all time classic records. We’ve picked up the pieces to bring you our picks for five of the most memorable Average White Band samples of all time.
See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time
Eric B. and Rakim
“Microphone Fiend,” 1987
The second track and single from Eric B. and Rakim’s sophomore effort Follow the Leader, “Microphone Fiend,” sampled the menacingly serious groove of Average White Band’s “School Boy Crush” which helped shape the steadfast vibe that the two were striving towards. The song’s penetrating bassline has become one of the most instantly recognizable samples in the genre’s history.
Also lifting from Average White Band’s “School Boy Crush” was Nas, on “Halftime.” His debut single, from the soundtrack of the 1992 Michael Rappaport interracial love and mixtape drama Zebrahead, it’s telling how rich Average White Band’s music and producer Large Professor’s talents are that they could fashion something so entirely different from previous sampled incarnations. Most notably, the squeal of horns from “Halftime’s” chorus having actually originated from singer Alan Gorrie.
A Tribe Called Quest
“Check the Rhime,” 1991
One of the most frequently quoted Tribe songs, 1991’s “Check the Rhime,” the first single off of the undisputed masterpiece The Low End Theory has become a signature song so strong that it lead off the group’s official Anthology release. Primarily built off of Average White Band’s “Love Your Life”, MC/producer Q-Tip harnessed the original break’s warmth for an intimate introduction into uncharted territory.
Del tha Funkee Homosapien
“Hoodz Come in Dozens,” 1991
Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s debut I Wish My Brother George Was Here has puzzled crate-diggers for years due to the album’s incorrect linear notes. Fortunately, we can confirm here that the swift soul of “Hoodz Come in Dozens” originates from Average White Band’s “Your Love is a Miracle.” This was a time in the early 90s where the group was repeatedly sampled, even by Del’s cousin Ice Cube who used their song “The Jugglers” on “What They Hittin’ Foe?”
Master P. featuring Silkk the Shocker and Fiend
“Hoodz Come in Dozens,” 1998
In the mid-to-late 90s when underrated No Limit in-house production team Beats By the Pound were cranking out track after track for the label’s seemingly infinite gauntlet of artists. At that time they were able to maintain a high ratio of both quality and versatility. Case in point, MP Da Last Don‘s heartbreaking exploration of prejudice on “Black and White” which samples Average White Band’s “A Love Of Your Own.” Also notable is that this track might be the first appearance of Lil Romeo.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 3, 2013