Of the four records that Kanye West has released between May and June, perhaps the best song among the bunch is track two on the Kanye-produced Nas album Nasir.
The song is named ‘Cops Shot The Kid’ due to the rapid-fire four-word sample that permeates the song, firing over and over like a semi-automatic weapon, gunning down any sense of subtly.
It’s quite an achievement, with Nas and Kanye exchanging verses about police brutality. “Tell me, who do we call to report crime, if 911’s doing the drive by?” asks Kanye as the sample whirs in the background. It’s forceful stuff.
The sample is half a line from Slick Rick’s ‘Children’s Story’, a 1988 song that has become the most sampled hip hop song in history. Other songs from the R’n’B canon have been sampled more — a six-second drum beat known as the ‘Amen Break’ from The Winstons’ 1969 song ‘Amen Brother’ has been used over two thousands times; the liberal and legally-dubious use of samples in hip hop means the actual figure is probably twenty times higher — but in terms of hip hop songs being lovingly plundered to create other pieces of art, no song beats ‘Children’s Story’ for sheer volume.
In 1995 ‘This Is How We Do It’ by Montell Jordan lifted the entire backing track, and turned it into a million-seller, which sat at #1 in the U.S. for seven weeks. Eminem has used it as the bass for a diss trick; his proteges D12 cribbed a line for a chorus.