The Story Behind The Sample: Danny Brown and Quincy Jones
(Credit: The Come Up Show)


The Story Behind The Sample: Danny Brown and Quincy Jones

Danny Brown is a truly unique character in every sense and a genuine artist to boot. The Detroit rapper is known for his quirky style, outlandish nature and genius music. With his career beginnings in the early 2010s, Brown has always had a good ear for instrumentals and backing tracks, so it is no surprise that some of his tracks have some ingenious samples incorporated within them.

With his career beginning around 2010, Brown (real name Daniel Sewell) started out alongside G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo. Although Yayo had been around since the early noughties, they were both looking to start afresh around this time. With an opportunity to collaborate, together, they worked on what would become their 2010 collaborative album, Hawaiian Snow.

Hoping that he might get signed to G-Unit Records, Brown held out to see if the opportunity would arise. However, he did not fit G-Unit’s gangster roster with his quirkiness and, as a result, did not end up on the label.

Insstead, he got his breakthrough thanks to the success of his Detroit State of Mind mixtape series that Brown found himself on the Rappers I Know label. On this label, he released his debut album – The Hybrid. While writing for this album, he developed his crazy style, getting noticed by the prominent underground record label Fool’s Gold Records.

Aside from the fact that Brown began to grow from here, it was while he was independently releasing his Detroit State of Mind 4 that he found himself rapping over a Quincy Jones sample. Track five of the mixtape features a song entitled ‘Black’, and it samples Jones’ song, ‘Summer in the City’, featuring Valerie Simpson.

Quincy Jones’ 1973 version of ‘Summer In The City’ is itself a cover of a track originally performed by 1960s pop group the Lovin’ Spoonful. Recorded at the Columbia Studios in New York, ‘Summer In The City’ was produced by Erik Jacobsen. The track features live instrumentation from session players such as pianist Artie Schroeck.

It also includes various Boss-Nova style elements as well as pop-rock segments. The song was critically acclaimed and received even more positive reviews from musicians who admired the chord progression’s interpolation with sound effects.

The song did so well that it topped the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number one. However, Quincy Jones’ cover was lauded even more and won a Grammy award for ‘Best Instrumental Arrangement’. It is, in fact, Jones’ version that most contemporary artists sample, as it has a little more soul and gusto.

Jones’ version appears on his 1973 album You’ve Got It Bad Girl and has been sampled by many hip hop acts, including The Pharcyde for their 1992 track, ‘Passin’ Me By’, but Danny Brown’s use of the track is the most impressive.