A Glimpse of Soul in Nucksal's '1Q87'

Made With Tracklib

A Glimpse of Soul in Nucksal's '1Q87'

The future is grim on ‘1Q87’, the new sci-fi-heavy album by South Korean rapper Nucksal. But a 70s soul sample of Ace Spectrum in “Brother” shows that there’s a silver lining behind the dark clouds.




October 14, 2020

Just like the title of Nucksal’s debut album, 2016's The God of Small Things, referenced a book by Indian author Arundhati Roy, 1Q87 again refers to a novel: 1Q84 (tweaked to match Nucksal’s birth year), a trilogy by Haruki Murakami set in a dystopian world. A fitting nod, as the productions on the album are quite disconcerting, with numerous science-fiction references including Akira, Vanilla Sky, and dystopian music videos for the synth-heavy “Am I A Slave?” and album opener “Bad Trip.” And speaking of sci-fi references, on a slightly unrelated note: we can’t help but think of Madvillainy when we see the album cover of 1Q87.

nucksal 1q87 album cover

“Brother” is a much more soulful track amidst the beautiful chaos that is 1Q87. The track was produced by BUGGY (who produced half of the tracks on the album*)* with additional drums by Holyday. “My intention for the production was to make something very soulful and warm,” says BUGGY. “‘I Don’t Want To Play Around’ by Ace Spectrum had everything I needed: vocals, strings, bells—literally everything makes the beat warm. The track completely blew my mind when I found it. That was the one, I had to flip it. I didn’t even bother to find other samples.”

To Nucksal, that warmth was an intentional addition to the sequencing and narrative of 1Q87.“Sampling at its finest is when a producer finds something that is perhaps unappreciated in the past and turns it into something wonderful and new,” explains Nucksal. “It was very intentional to put 'Brother' right in the middle of the final tracklist. So both old fans and new listeners could catch the warmth of a classic.”

nucksal i am a slave

"I found gold nuggets out of nowhere! I think Tracklib can be the bridge to people here who aren’t really familiar with this beautiful culture called sampling."


South Korean producer BUGGY doesn’t take 70s soul samples for granted. Partly because sampling isn’t deeply ingrained in today’s hip-hop productions in South Korea, as he explains: “Sampling culture in Korea is pretty regressed, in my opinion. It has been so for many years. Sample clearance isn’t popularized here, and it’s very hard to find the clearance agencies for artists. Because of that, the eye of the public isn’t open to it.”

Aside from that, it was award-winning Korean producer Deepflow (who, just like BUGGY, is one of the executive producers of 1Q87) who steered him in the right direction to find the soul BUGGY was looking for: “I don’t collect vinyl myself, but I usually check old soul and jazz on YouTube for my inspiration. However, YouTube’s algorithm isn’t perfect for digging, so it’s often hard for me to find the right samples. That’s why Deepflow told me about Tracklib. My first impression was that I found gold nuggets out of nowhere! I think Tracklib can be the bridge to people here who aren’t really familiar with this beautiful culture called sampling.”

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