Sampling in hip-hop has led to some exceptional creations. From Kanye West to Timbaland, the best producers in the genre have sampled pre-existing compositions and transformed them into anthems. However, Dr Dre is arguably the king of this practice.
Dr Dre is an individual who shifted the sonics of hip-hop in the early-90s and changed the culture. The LA native (real name Andre Young) is hailed as the pioneer of G-funk and has several multi-platinum albums to his name.
Dr Dre’s 1992 debut project, The Chronic, is legendary, and the Death Row empire he built and musically spearheaded changed a lot regarding the musical landscape of ’90s hip-hop. Albums such as Doggystyle, Dogg Food, All Eyez On Me and Tha Doggfather set a precedent concerning hip-hop production, especially with regard to sampling and as the 1990s drew to a close, Dre had high expectations to live up to and that he did with his 1999 album The Chronic 2001.
Colloquially referred to as 2001, the project, in many ways, was a comeback album for Young and what he produced blew listeners away and shook up the culture. However, one track on the body of work is certified as a legendary piece of music, and that is ‘The Next Episode’. Featuring Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and Nate Dogg, the track was the third single from the notorious comeback project and was produced by Dre.
However, the Compton musician sampled a rather unique track with a melody that is now recognisable worldwide. While crafting his album and carefully digging through the crates for old music, Dre ran across the perfect piece for his project. This musical masterpiece was ‘The Edge’ by British-American artist David McCallum. The song has been sampled in over 50 hip-hop recordings since.
Released in 1967 by Capitol Records, the instrumental piece appears on his album Music: A Bit More Of Me. The song was sampled by Dre for the intro and is the primary riff around which the track is arranged. The LP by McCallum features several other songs including: ‘Five O’Clock World’, ‘My World Is Empty Without You’, ‘Uptight (Everything’s Alright)’, ‘Call Me’, ‘It Won’t Be Wrong’, ‘Far Away Blue’ and ‘Isn’t It Wonderful’.
The 2001 gangsta rap rendition peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 but debuted at number three on the UK Singles Chart. In the UK, the single is double-platinum. The 1999 track was performed by Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg last year for the Super Bowl LVI halftime show. You can hear the legendary sample in the video below.