what do you really, really, really want? in real life?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Mixtape: "I've Been Watching You"
The first time I heard the Southside Movement's "I've Been Watching You", I was in the family MPV crossing the Bay Bridge. My older brother had actually tracked down the sample source to "Smoke Dope and Rap" and "Scottie 15" and a growing number of songs where I recognized the ominous bass-loop from. For the longest time, I wondered whether Nickatina had been the first to sample Southside Movement and he was ripped off*. I simply believed Dre Dog to be too good to be virtually irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Years later, as my mp3 collection has grown, and the internet has made searching for things like this easier, I have discovered more and more songs that sample the same song, some before '93, some after.
Backing up, what first struck me about "I've Been Watching You" is what a small part the famous-to-us bassline plays in the song. It's only the first two bars of a completely unrelated intro. The rest of the song is about a guy watching some chick he has a crush on give dudes headers (that's my read, anyway), and it's not hardbody in the slightest.
How could this be? That beat is the realest! No matter what rap record you find it on, the rapper comes with it (Cormega probably being the exception). From Nickatina rapping about smoking drugs and kicking it in SF; Brotha Lynch rapping about drinking 40s by himself with the lights off; Peedi rapping about smoking angel dust in heaven; Yuk and Numb trading bars about dealing dope and hitting licks; Scarface letting you know what you can and can't get away with in 5th Ward Houston; even the tales of trying to pick women up at bars that Rae and Ghost trade can't hide the overpowering sadness of the beat.
The West Coast track, I think, are stronger because they let the sample speak for itself. The East Coast tracks all have a piano or violin loop on top of the bassline, as if that were necessary. This is why Dre Dog will always "own" this beat in my mind. TC (I think he produced most of The New Jim Jones) lets the beat speak for itself, in all its creepy glory.
Without further ado, or blathering about "Smoke Dope and Rap", here is a link to the mixtape, and a tracklisting below:
Southside Movement - I've Been Watching You
Dre Dog - Smoke Dope and Rap
Andre Nickatina - Scottie 15
Andre Nickatina - Scottie 15 (Chopped and Screwed)
Brotha Lynch Hung - 24 Deep
Peedi Crakk - Chitty Bang
Luniz - Doin Dirt
Scarface - PD Roll Em
Ghostface Killah, Raekwon - Camay
Cormega - American Beauty
Children of the Corn - Harlem Nights
Please note that this is incomplete. If you can suggest any other rap songs that sample "I've Been Watching You", I'd love to add to my collection. Enjoy.
*(I also wondered if he got ripped off by a young Puff Daddy; The New Jim Jones came out the same year as Ready to Die, but earlier, and samples both "Between the Sheets" ("Lips" for Dre Dog; "Big Poppa" for Biggie) and "Juicy Fruit" ("The Ave" for Dre Dog; "Juicy" for Biggie))