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Z.Z. Hill: From Nobody to Somebody
Sampling

Z.Z. Hill: From Nobody to Somebody

“You've been trippin' around, uptown / Wooin' some fancy clown.” The late great(est) villain DOOM wrote everything for Madvillain’s “Fancy Clown” around a ZZ Hill sample. In a similar vein, hip-hop/jazz outfit Hocus Pocus built their "Mr Tout Le Monde" around another hook by the blues and soul singer.

By Tracklib

Hocus Pocus is a live hip-hop ensemble around producer 20syl, which integrates elements of jazz, funk & electronica into their music, resulting in a light-hearted formula of acoustic instrumentation, sampling, and turntablism. Songs such as “Hip Hop?” featuring The Procussions, “OnandOn Pt. 2” featuring the late UK rapper Ty, and the charting “Ongoing Thing” by frontman 20syl featuring Oddisee further opened up their catalog to an international crowd, despite their French roots.

On their 2008 track “Mr Tout le Monde” (French for ‘Average Joe’), DJ Greem cuts up the hook of Z.Z. Hill’s “Mr. Nobody, Somebody”. The production switches things up for the rhythm and arrangement of the vocals by the southern blues/soul singer, serving as the backdrop for their own tale of being a nobody. But don’t be mistaken by Z.Z. Hill’s modesty: he was definitely somebody. His song “Down Home Blues” was even dubbed as “the best-known blues song of the 1980s” by author Tony Russell. With eleven of his tracks reaching the top 50 of the Billboard R&B charts in the 70s and 80s. 

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A blues/soul singer sampled by Madlib, RZA, Eric B, Dr. Dre, among others. Do we need to say more? Dig into five Z.Z. Hill tracks to sample:

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3:50
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3:43
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3:04
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3:20
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4:07

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