Last week I put up as one of the entries for the 27 Days of Old School the classic song by Huey Lewis and the News. That song is “Hip to be Square” and I wrote how that song has become famous as not just being part of a great album of the 80’s, but due to the fact that it became the soundtrack to one of the best scenes from Marry Harron’s American Psycho.
Patrick Bateman’s personal take on “Hip to be Square” resonates not just as a description of the song but of the 1980’s as well.
“Do you like Huey Lewis & The News? Their early work was a little too ‘new-wave’ for my taste, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own – both commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humour. In ’87, Huey released this, Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is ‘Hip To Be Square’, a song so catchy most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics – but they should! Because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself! Hey Paul!”
“Ice Cube, will take a funky beat and reshape it Locate a dope break, and then I break it”
The first time I heard this song it was on the plane trip from San Francisco to Washington, DC. I was part of a high school civic studies program called CLOSE-UP. It took high school students (who can afford the fee of, at that time, 2000 dollars) from all 50 states to attend a 5 day learning tour of the nation’s capital and learning how the Federal government worked. Let’s just say that even as a high school senior I was already passed the idealistic stage and onto that cynical stage.
“Jackin’ for Beats” was part of Ice Cube’s Kill at Will album and it was the CD I brought onto the plane with me and it literally became the soundtrack to my trip.
This song is literally nothing but sampled beats from other songs and remixed together to form a unique funky beat and bass sound for Cube to drop his lyrics on. Ironically, the lyrics to the song was Cube talking about him stealing (jackin’) beats he thought was cool and funky and using it himself but making it better because he’s Cube.
Below are the songs whose beats were sampled to make up this song and I have a feeling there’s probably a few more that people haven’t been able to figure out.
“If it Don’t Turn You on (You Outta Leave it Alone)” by B.T. Express * “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, “The Payback”, “Funky President” & “Funky Drummer” by James Brown * “I Know You Got Soul” & “Hot Pants. . . I’m Coming, I’m Coming, I’m Coming” by Bobby Byrd * “Bop Gun (Endangered Species)” by Parliament * “Sing a Simple Song” by Sly & The Family Stone * “Big Ole Butt” by LL Cool J * “So Wat Cha Sayin'” by EPMD * “Ashley’s Roachclip” by The Soul Searchers * “Bon Bon Vie” by T.S. Monk * “Psychedelic Shack” by The Temptations * “Hector” by Village Callers * “More Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp * “Big Beat” by Billy Squier * “Buzzsaw” by The Turtles * “The Haunted House” by Disney * “Welcome to the Terrordome” by Public Enemy * “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground * “100 Miles and Runnin” by N.W.A.”