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Various Artists

Droppin’ Science: Greatest Samples from the Blue Note Lab

(Blue Note; US: ; UK: )

Droppin’ Science: Greatest Samples from the Blue Note Lab is an ode to all of the old-school hip-hop lovers who would like to know exactly what underground jazz classic was sampled on their favorite hit. The most recognizable track, David McCallum’s “The Edge”, given resuscitation in Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode”, while familiar, isn’t the compilation’s best. What is the best, however, is Lou Donaldson’s take on the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing”. While the Isleys’ version has always been good, Donaldson’s version is perfectly structured around a moody groove and flawlessly light horns, easily making it the collection’s most memorable selection.

Another track featured, Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew”, would have been reduced to elevators had A Tribe Called Quest never got their hands on it. And while ATCQ certainly made it memorable on their “Electric Relaxation”, Foster’s original take proves to be the collection’s least interesting. That said, other tracks, including Donald Byrd’s “Think Twice” and Joe Williams’ “Get Out My Life, Woman”, are two soulful could-be classics that prove to be indicative of the entire album’s message: Today’s best music would have never happened if yesterday’s music wasn’t this great.


Colin McGuire is a columnist and a Music Reviews Editor here at PopMatters, as well as an award-winning blogger and copy editor for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Maryland. He has worked in newspapers for five years, writing columns, editing stories and trying to make sure the medium doesn't completely fall off the Earth anytime soon. You can follow him on Twitter @colinpadraic.

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