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Like most of his peers in hip-hop, Jay-Z heavily samples a vast back catalogue of pop music for beats, melodies, and material that he can approbate for his songs. The beat is taken from the intro of Isaac Hayes' "Breakthrough.

Empire State of Mind

You'd probably not recognize that these are samples without being told so. If you don't happen to be a huge fan of The Moments or Isaac Hayes, you probably won't even realize that two of the three core aspects of a song—the melody, the harmony chords , and the rhythm—aren't original at all. And since Alicia Keys, who actually plays the "Love on a Two Way Street" piano line in live performances of the song, is the featured artist on the track, the idea of sampling is even further obscured. This leads us to an important understanding of the art of sampling.

Sampling can occur as a shout-out to another artist, as something that listeners will recognize and latch on to—as when Eminem sampled the well-known Aerosmith song "Dream On" in his song "Sing for the Moment" — but more often samples are taken from obscure sources.

Jay-Z - Empire State Of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys) [Official Music Video]

The idea is to take a small portion of the song, speed it up, slow it down, loop it, whatever, and incorporate it with new sounds, making it fresh and new. Whoever heard of The 4 Levels of Existence? And yet, a sped up version of the intro to their song "Someday in Athens" provides the heart of "Run This Town," the other mega-hit from The Blueprint 3. Something similar is true for "Empire State of Mind. Actually, they're both not even especially great songs. Isaac Hayes' "Breakthrough" is a more-or-less throwaway funk song. Part of the game in producing hip-hop is finding hidden gems like this.


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Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo e inMondadori. Empire State of Mind by Shmoop. Buy the eBook Price: Available in Russia Shop from Russia to buy this item. Or, get it for Kobo Super Points! Or grab a flashlight and read Shmoop under the covers. Shmoop's award-winning Song Guides are now available on your eBook Reader. Shmoop eBooks are like having a trusted, fun, chatty, expert always by your side, no matter where you are or how late it is at night. Shmoop Music Guide offers fresh perspectives on the songs you know by heart.

Find out what makes that riff so catchy or that lyric so deep. This guide includes analysis of lyrics, songwriting, historical context, cultural references, and the jaw-dropping stories behind the song and the artist. Experts and educators from top universities, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Harvard, have written guides designed to engage you and to get your brain bubbling.

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