Features

Story Behind The Sample: Indian Flute by Timbaland and Magoo

Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, super-producer Timbaland (real name Timothy Mosley) grew up in the main town near Missy Elliot and only an hour away from Virginia Beach, home to The Neptunes and The Clipse. Safe to say, he was raised in a musical area and had a good shot at becoming one of the most talented hip hop producers of all time. Rightly, Timbaland is among the greats of his generation.

Unlike his Virginia counterpart Pharrell Williams, Timbaland is a producer that frequently samples music. In fact, Timbaland is a rare hybrid in the sense that some of his instrumentals are sample-based, and some of them are truly original, making him an extremely versatile producer and one-of-a-kind.

Other legendary producers are usually one or the other. As part of the Neptunes with Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams rarely sampled music and always made fairly simplistic yet original beats. On the other hand, Kanye West’s production style is almost entirely sample-based, with almost every song in his catalogue containing a sample.

Timbaland is most known for his collaborative work with Missy Elliot, Aliyah and Justin Timberlake. However, he has made an unfathomable amount of solo material over the years. As well as solo material during the late 1990s and early noughties, Timbaland released a plethora of hip hop records as part of the rap duo Timbaland & Magoo, comprised of himself and fellow Virginia rapper Melvin “Magoo” Barcliff,

One of their most renowned songs is ‘Indian Flute’. From their 2003 album Under Construction: Part 2, Indian Flute was produced by Timbaland and recorded at Master Sound studios in Virginia. The track also features American-born Indian hip hop singer Rajé Shwari as well as Sebastian.

For this track, Timbaland deceives listeners very well with the song’s title and visuals because the sample used is, in fact, from a Colombian track entitled ‘Curura’, performed by Totó La Momposina. It is deceiving as the melody itself is not played on an Indian Flute but is played on what is known as a kuisi.

The kuisi is a Native Colombian fipple flute made from a hollowed cactus stem. They are also used in Panama. ‘Curura’ is from Totó La Momposina’s 1992 album, La Candela Viva. The song has also been sampled by Major Lazer for their song ‘Que Calor’.

Totó La Momposina (real name Sonia Vides) is highly decorated and has won three Latin Grammy awards. Below you can hear ‘Curura’ and ‘Indian Flute’ to see how Timbaland used this 1992 Colombian classic.