(shout out to @steveedwards for recommending this)
I blogged on Friday about Tracy Chapman taking Nicki Minaj to the woodshed in court for not clearing a sample of hers and was pleasantly surprised at the unanimous respect in the comment section for Tracy Chapman's talents.
Who said good taste was dead?
Among the talk about Chapman's smashes was the epic "Fast Car".
Turns out a hit 90s hip-hop song also sampled the track. "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow,” by Nice and Smooth.
Nice & Smooth formed in New York as part of the fertile East Coast hip hop scene in the late 80s and found moderate success–mostly on the R&B charts–over the course of four albums. They scored their biggest national hit, by far, with “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow,” an anti-drug song which just missed the Top 40 in 1992. The track’s most prominent feature was a sample of the main acoustic guitar riff from Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”
It was the second single off their debut album.
It took the guitar intro from the "Fast Car" track and layered drums over the top.
It's the one moment on the album where there's a sense of this as social commentary: not in Nice's typically free-associative opening stanza, but in Bee's second, ostensibly the tale of being in love with a coke addict. It's so out of character you're never too sure how real it is - can he mean it? Is it all an elaborate set-up for the self-deprecating punchline (he takes her back after 18 months in rehab, "And whaddaya know? She's sniffin' again")? - but there is detail in the writing that, allied with the innate melancholia of the Chapman sample, makes it feel like it comes from somewhere that's recalled rather than studied. On novelty factor alone you'd have surely got some radio play; with a fair wind after that, it could easily have been a hit.