SAMPLED is a column that examines the skeletal production of a contemporary Rap/R&B/Hip-Hop or Pop song. From what song did the loop, sample, or chopped up vocal providing the backbone for a new interpretation originate? We look at the original song with some historical context, and then review the modern-day production that samples the original. For better or worse, this is the process by which a huge portion of contemporary pop music is assembled. On a weekly basis, SAMPLED aims to approach it case-by-case, and examine the dividing practice of using samples in the creation of music.
This week, the sample in question comes from Neon Indian’s 2011 song “Polish Girl” from the album Era Extraña:
Neon Indian is the indie electronic project of Alan Palomo, a Mexican-born multi-instrumentalist currently residing in Denton, Texas. His debut album Psychic Chasms put Palomo at the forefront of the chillwave movement in 2009, receiving acclaim for his 80s inspired, hazy, laid-back synthscapes. While much of the chillwave (or glo-fi, or dream-beat, or whatever) movement is criticized for having nostalgia for a decade most of them aren’t old enough to remember, Neon Indian is legitimized by the fact that Palomo’s father was somewhat of an 80s pop star in his native Mexico. Palomo has even admitted to sampling his father’s work in Neon Indian songs. The song “Polish Girl” is dreamy, reverberated, synth-driven pop gem, with scattered arpeggios, and breathy, almost inaudible vocals. So chilly. So wavy.
“Polish Girl” was recently sampled in “Pillz” by artist/songwriter/producer Bei Major, which appears on his new mixtape Upscale:
Bei Maejor is a Grammy-nominated artist, songwriter, and producer from Southfield, Michigan. After graduating from University, he moved to Atlanta to work closely with Ne-Yo’s Compound Entertainment Group. After signing a record deal with Jive in 2010, Bei worked to develop his career through writing and producing for other artists, remixing singles, and releasing mixtapes. He still has yet to release an album, but his most recent mixtape, Upscale (March 2012), is currently making waves in the R&B and hip-hop community. Bei has racked up his fair share of high-profile songwriting and production credits in 2012, including two tracks from Justin Bieber’s Believe, and “Murda Bizness” by Iggy Azalea featuring T.I., but it’s clear that he has his sights set on a successful career as an artist. Bei produces most of his own solo material, and with “Pillz,” he’s looped a section of Neon Indian’s “Polish Girl” to form the basis of his beat. Maejor has pitched the intro of “Polish Girl” down by a couple of steps, added a simple beat with some finger-snaps and hi-hats, a sub bass, and some layered harmonies to fill out the arrangement of “Pillz.” If Maejor keeps churning out hits like this on his mixtapes, his eventual album should be good enough to put him on the map as an artist first, and a producer second.