R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

Closer To The Source

30 MAR 09 DAVID NATHAN

Brilliant idea to put together a compilation of Stax originals that have been used as samples by various and sundry rap and hip-hop artists! What's particularly amazing about The Soul Of Hip-Hop is the sheer number of rappers who've delved deep into the vaults to find relative obscurities to use to enhance their own work.

The very first cut on this tasty 14-track set, 24-Carat Black's "Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth," was no giant hit. Indeed, most soul fans have barely heard of 24-Carat Black who made just one album for Stax in 1973. Yet, the title track has been used by such notables as Jill Scott with Common and Eric B and Rakim. Even deeper into obscurity is "After Laughter (Comes Tears)," a 1964 single by the little-known Wendy Rene which has been used by Wu-Tang Clan and The RZA among others.

It's astonishing that an album as little known as Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia by Sweet Inspirations, their one early-'70s set for Stax, became the source for at least four samples including the infectious "Why Marry," sampled by Raekwon. It's a testament to the power of classic soul that artists like the great William Bell have enjoyed half-a-dozen samples for his unforgettable ballad "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" from the likes of Jaheim and Luadcris while some of the other biggest hit-makers at Stax -- including Isaac Hayes, The Bar-Kays, The Emotions and The Dramatics -- have benefited from the appreciation shown for the deepest parts of their catalog by a whole generation of today's chart-makers. Deep.