It never ceases to amaze me how the dopest hip-hop is derived from the most unlikely places. The drums from Mountain’s “Long Red” (the live version, not the album version) are a staple of so many great hip-hop songs. From Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “Return of the Mecca” to A Tribe Called Quest’s hard to find remix to “The Jazz” to most recently De La Soul’s Dilla-produced “Verbal Clap” those drums just fill out any beat. Even the vocals (“clap your hands to what he’s doing”and “louder”) have been sprinkled throughout a countless number of cuts.
Made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Leslie West, bassist Felix Pappalardi, organist Steve Knight and drummers ND Smart, III and Corky Lang Mountain hailed from New York and are considered by some to be the forerunners of heavy metal. I’m not certain which drummer was playing during the now famous Woodstock performance where “Long Red” live was recorded, but needless to say he didn’t see this coming.
So I went digging for this “ultimate break” with little success at first. I was even going to buy it (gasp!”) on Amazon.com but it was only available if you purchased the entire CD. Don’t think so. After consulting a few trusted producers I came across a copy. He advised me that “anything on CD can be found on the internet.” As it turns out the good folks at Kevin Nottingham had a copy buried in their A Tribe Called Quest sample set. Good looks!
So of course I had to take a swing at sampling this but the pressure was on. These drums are like driving on automatic after learning on a stick shift, you have to try real hard to fugg it up. I started out just looping it but changed it up in some parts, sampling just the kick and the snare and manipulating them myself. Then I threw everything under the sun over them; David Axelrod, Quincy Jones, Donnie Hathaway, Dorothy Ashby…not all at once, that would be overkill. But I had fun with it. So after you take a listen to the masters below, check out my “Moving Mountains” beat…
Mountain, “Long Red”
A Tribe Called Quest “The Jazz” (remix)
Pete Rock and CL Smooth, “Return of The Mecca”
De La Soul, “Verbal Clap”
“Moving Mountains” by JLB[audio:movingmountains.mp3]