Nightmares on Wax’s Favourite Hip-Hop Samples

Did you know that Nightmares on Wax was the second artist released on Warp Records?  Did you also know that he first started out as part of a breakdancing crew? Yup, Nightmares on Wax aka DJ Ease aka George Evelyn is one cool dude. His music is also pretty great. The Smokers Delight and Carboot Soul LPs both released back in ’95 were pinnacle records in the creation of the down-tempo smokey beat sound that is oft attributed to Massive Attack and Portishead of the same time.

A prolific producer, his productions span from an original focus on hip-hop, to affirming the trip-hop sound, to a fearless venture into techno and acid house. As an artist he emphasizes the importance of continuing to ‘perform’ music and connecting with one’s audience; a philosophy that has remained consistent through his work with soul singers, hip-hop royalty like De La Soul and his own label, WAX ON Records.  In light of his hip-hop and penchant for sampling, we asked George to pick his five favourite samples used in hip-hop records.

Catch Nightmares on Wax headlining The Forum, London on 24th Oct with Peanut Butter Wolf, Teebs, DJ Food, Paul White, the Cyclist, Future Dub Orchestra and Owiny Sigoma’s Jesse Hackitt. He’ll also be appearing at Bristol’s Simple Things Festival the following day.

Quincy Jones – ‘Summer in the City’. Used by Nightmares on Wax – ‘Nights Interlude’

I first discovered this record back in 1987, while digging through some sale stock at Virgin record store in Leeds, that was closing down. No one had used this track and I always thought when I could afford to buy a Akai S950 this would be one of the first things I would sample. That magical event happened end of ’89 early 1990 with the song ‘Nights Interlude’, which became the intro to our first album A Word Of Science: First And Final Chapter.

Donald Byrd – ‘Wind Parade’.  Used by Black Moon – ‘Buck ’em Down’

Taken from the fantastic album Places & Spaces, an album full of classic samples. I love the string arrangements and textures to this song. The way the groove moves along so effortlessly, it’s a real master piece . Sampled by the great head nodding hip-hop group Black Moon on the song ‘Buck ’em Down’, a real moment in what is now known as the golden era.

Bob James – ‘Take me to the Mardi Gras’. Used by Run DMC – ‘Peter Piper’

Such an important record to me first as a hip-hop track used by Run DMC. I remember first hearing this in ’86 and thinking what the hell is that break with the bells in it ? A few months later digging in a flea market, I found this Bob James collection of albums 1 , 2 and 3 , which have all got amazing songs and samples on. Such a great find!

The Honey Drippers – ‘Impeach the President’. Used by Audio 2 – ‘Top Billin’

I really have Audio Two to thank for highlighting this break to me , also for the way they sampled it and split the beat into such an original pattern. Even today it stands out in it’s originality that many have copied or tried to emulate. From a simple diggers point of view, this break was brought to my knowledge through The Ultimate breaks & beats series on Beat Street Records. What a record in itself, politically advanced and aware. The drums recorded in such an upfront and dirty sounding way that I envy and respect as a producer. A classic !

Earth Wind & Fire – ‘Runnin’. Used by Organized Konfusion – ‘Walk into the Sun’

Such an amazing song on it’s own , but that groove ! That bass line! I’m a massive EWF fan anyway, there are so many breaks & samples associated with this group. This song in particular is such an amazing composition of funk-soul-jazz and even has an afro edge to it. Then the way the was Organized Konfusion beefed this up in a hip hop fashion, makes this a club banger!

Nightmares on Wax plays The Forum in London on 24th October, and at Simple Things Festival in Bristol on 25th October

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