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A Long-Kept Sampling Secret: Trouble Funk, Public Enemy & DJ Cash Money
Sampling

A Long-Kept Sampling Secret: Trouble Funk, Public Enemy & DJ Cash Money

A piece of sampling history was redefined recently on Diamond D’s Instagram. A visit to DJ Cash Money’s studio revealed that the cuts on Public Enemy’s monumental classic “Fight The Power” weren’t done by the group’s DJ, Terminator X. It was actually a sample of DJ Cash Money cutting up Trouble Funk records.

By DannyVeekens
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It’s no news that the music of funk/go-go band Trouble Funk was used in the sample-dense P.E. classic “Fight The Power.” The song “Pump It Up” by the Washington, D.C.-based band is credited in the long list of samples. And so is their live session "Saturday Night Live From Washington DC Pt. 1" from 1983 album In Times of Trouble. "Fight The Power" includes 21 samples in total, according to WhoSampled. The Bomb Squad also sampled records by the likes of James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, The Isley Brothers, and The Dramatics.

But unlike popular belief that the Trouble Funk scratches were done by Public Enemy’s Terminator X, DJ Cash Money now shares a new piece of history—a long-kept secret for over thirty years since the release of “Fight The Power”: "I was in the studio doing a session. This guy came in and he was like, 'Yo man, you need to cut these go-go records up. He happened to be the manager of Trouble Funk. So he was bootlegging his own group!”

Our response here at Tracklib HQ was just like the one of producer Diamond D: oh shit, who knew?!

Album cover of Trouble Funk's 'In Times of Trouble'
Album cover of Trouble Funk's 'In Times of Trouble'

Trouble Funk on Tracklib

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The Trouble Funk songs on Tracklib are taken from the Droppin' Bombs (The Definitive Trouble Funk) compilation on Funky Delicacies. A collection of their regional style of funk from Washington D.C. called “go-go.” A style rooted in old school hip-hop, funk, soul, and heavily influenced by call-and-response with the audience. "The essential [go-go] beat is characterized by a five through four syncopated rhythm that is underscored prominently by the bass drum and snare drum, and the hi-hat,” as explained in the book The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop by ethnomusicologist Kip Cornell. “[and] it’s ornamented by the other percussion instruments, especially by the conga drums, rototoms, and hand-held cowbells."

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