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Production Breakdown: Fashawn’s “Samsonite Man”

Posted by Richard on 10/23/09 | Filed under Features, Production Breakdown, Fashawn

Thus far in 'Production Breakdown's not-so-long history, I've talked exclusively about sampled beats and, shockingly, I'm going to do so again today. That's not so much because I like them better (I have no preference, when it comes down to it) but because I spend so much time thinking about samples. Seriously – if I'm not writing, I'm probably combing through Google results to find the record used as the basis for a Booth feature. Why? Um, an obsessive streak, combined with the fact that, if I were in your (that is, the readers') shoes, I think I'd be curious to hear where stuff came from. Plus, the sometimes-obscure tunes I come across in those searches often become personal favorites.

Such is the case with Samsonite Man, the latest leak off Cali up-and-comer Fashawn's acclaimed debut set, Boy Meets World. Nathan handled that one over on the Booth, but you know what? I just spent almost half an hour tracking down that (brilliant) sample – what I found was too great not to share, and the fact that I'm writing about the record here on RefinedHype means that I can call that half-hour “research” rather than 'procrastination/screwing around on the Internet.'

“Don't Think Twice (It's All Right),” the record that inspired Exile's beat on “Samsonite Man” was originally penned by the great Bob Dylan. The track was directed towards ex-girlfriend Suze Rotolo (pictured on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan) and features the spectacularly vindictive, classic-Dylan kiss-off: “I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind/ You coulda done better but I don't mind/ You just kinda wasted my precious time/ Don't think twice, it's all right.” And, like all-too-many tracks in the folk legend's ouevre, it's been covered more than [insert timely reference to overexposed celebrity].

The sample used in “Samsonite Man” is the work of Billy Paul, a Philly soul veteran who scored his one and only number-one hit with 1972's “Mr. and Mrs. Jones.” Though this rendition is apparently not well-known enough to receive a mention on Wikipedia's lengthy list of “Don't Think Twice” covers, it's hard to see why. By my estimation, it's as much an improvement on Dylan's original as Hendrix' classic take on “All Along the Watchtower.” Though Exile punched “Samsonite Man” up with a choppier piano arrangement and, of course, stronger percussion, the source material's exhilarating energy is undeniable.

Will I switch up my game and discuss about something non-sampled next time around? Beats me (pun intended)! In the meantime, enjoy this classic cover – in Billy Paul's own words, “If you don't feel it, you ain't got no soul!

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