Charity Shoppin' #1: Breaking Bells

Reginald is not, I'd contend, a particularly 'street' name, not one that will get you much 'rep' in the 'hood'. Check my accent out there, I'm down with the kids me, intit. Anyway, the thing I like about today's track is that one of the artists is called nothing less than Reggie Reg. It's a supreme show of confidence in one's ability that enables an MC to carry off a moniker like that. As part of the Crash Crew, Reggie Reg was one of a democratic collective that produced today's track, the ridiculously catchy Breaking Bells.

The group burst onto the scene in the late seventies with their hit Hi Powered Rap, gaining some extra column inches due to their feud with the Furious Five - there's two sides of the argument as to who copied who, but eventually the problem must have been resolved, as the Crew signed to Sugar Hill records (there's some sort of recurring theme here...) and went on to release a strong of hits, not least this Bob James-sampling classic.

What's particularly pleasing today is that I've been able to find out a little more about the current location of the members: whereas the Sugar Hill Gang, Trouble Funk and others just vanished, the Crash Crew went on to great things. EK Mike C now lives in New York and drives a bus. Barry Bistro is a security guard at the Capitol, Washington, and La ShuBee is Assistant Director of NYU Food Services.

The main thrust of the song comes from the Bob James sample, from Take Me To The Mardi Gras. Although James' most well-known musical moment is probably Angela, the theme to Taxi, this is the piece that will cement him in history, having been sampled by a whole host of hip hop greats. Crash Crew look to be the first (at least the first to make a hit from it), but others include Run DMC (Peter Piper), Eric B & Rakim (Don't Sweat The Technique), Beastie Boys (Hold It Now, Hit It) and Timbaland (Missy Elliot's Work It). The sample is the driving force behind Breaking Bells, and provides a ready-made beat for the Crew to work with, albeit beefed up with a tasty early drum machine sound.

And just like the Bob James track was sampled by others, Breaking Bells has featured in other songs, cf. this DJ Yoda track, the intro to How to Cut and Paste Mix Tape Vol.2 also featuring the Star Wars theme... As he quotes in his own track, if you like the Avalanches, you'll love this guy.

Crash Crew - Breaking Bells (Take Me To The Mardi Gras)
DJ Yoda - Intro (feat. Crash Crew and Star Wars)
Bob James - Take Me To The Mardi Gras

Buy Crash Crew/Bob James/DJ Yoda

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey do you know what the sample is used ont he DJ Yoda album 'How To Cut And Paste (Vol 1)', on track 14, at 1:44 in there is a sample used is this Bob James? Answers to edwardjonkler@aol.com would be massively appreciated..