Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Best Of Both Worlds, part 1: The "Think" Break
A more detailed examination of the music discussed in my Baltimore City Paper article about the crossover between Baltimore club music and hip hop.

One of the points I touched on in the article (see paragraph 14) is the ubiquity of the breakbeat from Lyn Collins' 1972 record "Think (About It)" in Baltimore club music, and how it's started to bleed into local hip hop tracks, too. DJ Technics' official website,, has a pretty amazing history page that gives an incredibly in depth perspective on the roots of Bmore club and the early house records and breakbeats that influenced it. The above record is, according to Technics, the first remix of "Think" that Scottie B. discovered and popularized in Baltimore. When Collins passed away last year, Jess Harvell wrote an obituary in the City Paper that focused on her legacy as a widely sampled artist.

To get an idea of just how widely sampled "Think" is, look no further than, which lists literally dozens of records that have sampled it, mostly hip hop (the most famous being "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock), mostly made over a decade ago. This illustration by Kagan McLeod is a pretty awesome way to show the song's influence, too. Of course, neither of those sites takes into account the hundreds (if not thousands) of Baltimore club songs that have sampled the song's breakbeat.

I'm not gonna post any Baltimore club tracks with the "Think" breakbeat, simply because there are so many possible examples, and won't include tracks where rappers jumped on a club beat with the "Think" break like Yung Gist's "The Real Mr. Postman" or Bossman's remix of "Dance My Pain Away". This post is about all the Baltimore hip hop tracks from the past 3 years that have slowed the "Think" break down from the 130 BPM of club music, although some of these tracks maintain the same brisk pace as the original beat.

Bossman - "Oh" (mp3)
You should already know what it is, but whatever, I'll post it once again to give you the full picture of the topic here. I should note that out of all these songs, this is the only one that was actually done by a Baltimore club producer, Rod Lee.

Backland f/ Comp - “U Better Think” (mp3)
Although I kind of attribute the recent popularity of the "Think" break in local hip hop to "Oh," I think this song from Backland's 2004 mixtape The One was made before it or around the same time, and they use the actual Lyn Collins vocal sample in there too.

Labtekwon - “Dr. Strangelove” (mp3)
I originally posted this song a couple months ago as part of my review of the Avant God album, and Lab's long relationship with club music is of course well documented.

Barnes - “Jump Da Club Off” (mp3)
This song was popular on 92Q for a while last year and appeared on Street Radio 2, but for some reason didn't show up on Barnes' album The Last Shall be First this year. However, another Barnes track with the "Think" break that did appear on his album is his current radio hit, "Jigglin' Shorty" featuring Dollas, which is part of the City Paper's Big Music Thing downloadable mixtape.

UA Mobb - “U Bad” (mp3)
This is a track from the now shelved Tyree Colion presents Hustle Hard Blvd triple CD that I wrote about a couple months ago, although I don't hear Tyree himself on the track, so I think it's just by UA Mobb. I love that beat, maybe my favorite of all these different permutations of the "Think" break, it just sounds so fucking huge and evil.

Also in this series:
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 2: Blaq Starr
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 3: Dukeyman
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 4: DJ Ron Rico
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 5: DJ Booman
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 6: Nigga Say What a.k.a. Say Wut
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 7: Rod Lee
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 8: Debonair Samir

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