Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Eminem's Rap God sample: that's Captain America and the Falcon, from Power Records!

What do Eminem and most Integr8d Fix readers have in common? Comic books, man. As a boy, I had two Power Records, a brand that released dramatized versions of comic books on 45 rpm, complete with a book sampling most of the comic's artwork. The first was a stand-alone Superman adventure I think was written by Elliot S! Maggin, where aliens fell to earth in the form of silver-hued bullets. The second one, I only had the record, but it was intense: Captain America and the Falcon confront the mystery of The Phoenix, a man whose thirst for revenge is born from Cap's battles in the world war before his frozen suspension. I didn't get hooked on Eminem's 2013 release "Rap God" until I was putting together a hip hop playlist this September. Not unlike when Anj and I discovered Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre back in college, I was wrestling with an angry mood over someone who cheated me of recording time after I gave up eleven Sundays of my life to give...his initials are B.S., no kidding....BS a bassist for his band's practices, among other favors, at zero recompense. DMX's "X Gonna Give It To You" plays as the background for that hilarious Rick and Morty montage where Rick and his grand daughter Summer train together, lifting weights, bulking up, so they can pummel the Devil and random bullies afterwards. I decided to get in touch with my aggression, so I put on that, "Go To Sleep," then found my way to "Rap God," which soon hooked Angela and I with, as always, those deft, juvenile, utterly slik Eminem cadences. I even looked up "Supersonic" by JJ Fad, a song whose hook I knew from school days. Angela said the case for swiping "Hey Lookin' Boy" wasn't worth nearly what the Chicago band that performs "Hey" is suing for, $25 million, I think, but I pointed out that was a way to get a few thousand listens out of the TMZ crowd, too. But who was that voice? It sounds like some kind of gangster movie serial from your grand parents' day. I couldn't get away from how familiar it seemed. I haven't listened to that Power Record in even more years than it's been since I watched cheerleaders dance to "Super Sonic," while we played the beat from the percussion section. (You don't care about the label "band geek" when you get to put showing off and music together in one go. Besides, how else was I really going to get out of the house back then?). But there he is, Captain America. "Look! I was going to go easy on you..." That's Cap talking to his partner, the Falcon, as he's throwing him off the trail with a ruse, so he can take on The Phoenix vendetta alone. Not very partnerly of you, Winghead. "Something's about to happen, I can feel it!" is Cap thinking to himself. "And if he's as bananas as you say, I'm not taking any chances." That's Captain America referring to Baron Zemo II, referred to in this story as "the Phoenix." Here, since Rick and Morty started this whole thing, maybe you'll get a chuckle out of this pairing of Rick and Eminem. Speaking of the Falcon, Anthony Mackie plays him in the Marvel Cinemaverse, but Mackie also plays Papa Doc in 8 Mile! Eminem's interest in comic books is fairly well-known. I wonder what's the chances he's going to find Integr8d Soul Comics Number One, where one page features a Rap Bot with "a laptop in" his "back pocket"? You can pretty much bet Em had the Cap 45 rpm when he was a kid, because he samples it again for "Groundhog Day." (His lyric "Captain America on It could've been Dr. Dre's idea, too, or maybe even a fresh sampling of old vinyl had simply turned this up and caught their ear. Possibly after it turned up in the huge list of samples used by Jurassic 5 a couple years before? If you want a clinic on sampling, check out the LP, Jurassic Five, classic hip hop group (whose new track "Golden" led the way to the J6's invasion of my hip hop playlist), especially track "Lesson Six (The Lecture)." The song samples 31 completely different recordings...and somewhere in there is the Power Records version of"And A Phoenix Shall Rise!" presented in Captain America and the Falcon #168.

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