Riffs on Riffs

Riffs on Riffs

Riffs on Riffs is a podcast that studies sampling in popular music. Hosts, Joe Watson and Toby Brazwell, connect the musical dots between legendary tracks and the often lesser-known songs they sampled. Hear behind-the-scenes stories of musicians and their inspiration; it’s like being in the studio while an artist creates a new song from an old riff. Uncover the way these epic songs borrow from music of the past, enriching the musical landscape for generations to come.... Show More

Episodes

July 17, 2019 39 min

There’s not much room for mediocre in this episode as Joe & Toby explore two epic music icons in this episode of Riffs on Riffs. One, the 1970’s rock band Boston, brought it more than 17 million dollars in sales, generating 3 top 40 hits from their self titled album - making the album the biggest selling debut in rock history. And two, the legendary Elton John released 30 albums, sold 300 million records, won 5 Grammys, a Tony, a G... Read more

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July 3, 2019 34 min

Joe and Toby connect the musical dots from Tyler, the Creator’s hit track “Igor’s Theme” (2019) and trace it back to a Paris-based 70’s soul group. What we geek out over in this episode: Head West, Fleetwood Mac “Black Magic Woman” (1968) & “Oh Well” (1969), sounds of the 70’s from “Sentimental Lady” (1972) and it’s mondegreen, skateboards, Odd Future, Fruity Loops & Captain Crunch, horrorcore hip-hop music genre, and Tyler the Cre... Read more

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June 19, 2019 41 min

If you can look past his lyrics, you’ll find one of the most decorated artists in his genre when it comes to platinum and gold plaques. It’s Los Angeles-born, Oakland-raised rapper Too $hort who can be credited with not only initiating the Bay Area's indie hip-hop scene as well as having a hand in the birth of crunk music. In his 30 years of music, Too $hort became one of the most celebrated rappers of the 90’s and beyond, and has ... Read more

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June 5, 2019 37 min

In yet another genre-twisting episode of Riffs on Riffs, we’ll connect the musical dots between breakout Chicago rapper, Juice WRLD, and the 1993 Sting sample that was used for his #2 Billboard hit, Lucid Dreams. A meshing of pop, rock and rap lends a sweet feel to what Juice WRLD is bringing to the table amidst the rise in new wave hip-hop. Get to know the talented and soulful musician, Juice WRLD, and his broken hearted melodies ... Read more

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May 22, 2019 38 min

  In this episode of Riffs on Riffs, Joe & Toby discuss the rise of a Hip-Hop Cowboy, Lil Nas X, the 20-year-old rapper and internet savant behind the hip-hop-country crossover “Old Town Road.” In yet another rags to riches/started from the bottom tale of stardom, Lil Nas X was a college dropout living on his sister’s couch in Atlanta with a negative balance in his bank account. Now, he’s crushed Drake’s single-week streaming recor... Read more

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May 8, 2019 37 min

Dubbed "The Beatles of electronic dance music" by The New York Times in 1997, Dusseldorf-based band Kraftwerk pioneered the genre, and some see them as the grandfathers of techno… and they did it without computers! From the most obscure indie rock to the most mainstream pop, and even hip-hop, all across the board, most music bears the impression of their invention; and by invention (i.e. materializing something out of thin air), Kr... Read more

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April 24, 2019 37 min

In this episode of Riffs on Riffs, Joe & Toby dive into one of the biggest hits, “Pop Goes The Weasel” (1991), from Brooklyn-based hip-hop trio 3rd Bass. Considered to be a ground-breaking group of the time in the 1980’s, 3rd Bass was a mixed-race rap group who broke out in a pre-Eminem rap world. Learn more about talented artists behind 3rd Bass and where they nabbed the sounds for their greatest chart topping hit song. Hint: He’s... Read more

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April 10, 2019 36 min

She’s hip-hop’s current “it girl,” plastered all over our televisions, can be heard in most of the current music on the Billboard Hot 100, has multiple Grammy nominees - and one win! - for her debut album Invasion of Privacy and can even be found in women’s make up cabinets with a lucrative collaboration with fashion icon Tom Ford. The Cardi B effect is rippling throughout hip-hop and we can’t seem to get enough this Bronx-born rap... Read more

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March 27, 2019 34 min

Every sporting event and arena in America has House of Pain to thank for its lasting contribution to hip-hop history with their 1992 crowd pleasing hit, “Jump Around.” Even movies like Mrs. Doubtfire to Black Hawk Down and Bridget Jones’ Baby, have utilized the energetic popularity to supplement their soundtracks. 27 years later we are all still jumping around to this jazzy-punk-hip hop mash-up of greatness. Joe and Toby discuss Ho... Read more

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March 13, 2019 37 min

Superstar DJ and British record producer Mark Ronson has earned both praise and popular success for his throwback, funk-influenced work with a range of diverse and international artists and musicians. From Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, to Adele, and more, Ronson has forged a trail of magnetic tunes, in his own right.  In addition to winning Grammy Awards for Producer and Record of the Year, he also topped th... Read more

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February 27, 2019 34 min

She is one of the industry’s leading princess’ of pop with a trail of hits, world tour and a Grammy to prove it. In this episode Joe and Toby explore the music of pop sensation, Ariana Grande. Alongside her widely successful music career and string of chart-topping collaborations - from Iggy Azalea, the Weeknd and Nicki Minaj - to name a few, Grande performance goes beyond her infamous ponytail. It is safe to say her cheesy kids’ s... Read more

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February 12, 2019 36 min

“Failure is the mother of all success,” quotes multi-platinum recording artist and rapper, Armando “Pitbull” Perez. As someone who went from Miami street rapper to global brand ambassador, he fought and won the battle of ‘starting from the bottom’. Pitbull has sold more than 70 million singles, has more than 67 million digital downloads, more than nine billion YouTube views, and has over 22 million Twitter followers and 59 million ... Read more

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January 29, 2019 34 min

  In this episode, Joe and Toby explore the groundbreaking 1988 hip-hop duo P.M. Dawn and their De La Soul-esque ‘romantic hip-hop’ infused catalog of music. The group, composed of Jersey City brothers Attrell Cordes, known as Prince Be, and brother Jarrett Cordes, who went by DJ Minutemix, earned enormous success for their stream of pop hits in the 1990’s. The focus track, “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” (1991) was P.M. Dawn's first ... Read more

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January 16, 2019 38 min

Before her death at the young age of 22, Aaliyah had released three certified platinum albums, starred in two major film roles, launched the Timbaland and Missy Elliot revolution and became an innovator of the 90’s generation R&B music scene. Joe and Toby reminisce on the life, legacy and music of Aaliyah, and the 70’s funk band that inspired her Grammy nominated hit single “Are You That Somebody?” from the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack... Read more

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January 2, 2019 35 min

From couch-surfer dropping EP’s on Soundcloud to one of the hottest pop acts in the world, Halsey summits Spotify with ease, leaving behind her troubled past for a promising (and chart topping) future. Joe and Toby dive into the life and music of Halsey and her rise to the top. This includes a look back at another prominent female vocalists from the 1960’s and the sample from her not-so-well known song that inspired Halsey’s 2018 h... Read more

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December 19, 2018 28 min

In this episode, Joe and Toby explore some of the most iconic hip hop tracks of the 1990’s including, one of the greats, “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G. Unbeknownst to most of the world, this grammy nominated hit song, featured a not-so-well-known sample from a 1983 soul/funk group. This group created a ripple throughout time, inspiring many artists, from Gwen Stefani to Chance the Rapper, turning their legendary sounds into ch... Read more

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December 5, 2018 30 min

Mariah Carey’s career - just shy of the 30-year mark - is a formidable force and one that still caps the Billboard charts. The recent release (Dec. 1) of her 15th studio album, Caution, acquired her eighth No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart (trailing only Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin, both with 10 chart-topping sets; and The Temptations leading with 16 No. 1s.) The mighty Mariah Carey proves that the power of a ... Read more

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November 21, 2018 31 min

Hamilton, the theatrical powerhouse and a fixture of contemporary American culture, is the spotlight of Riffs on Riffs episode eight. This collision of American history, rap and hip-hop infused musical phenomenon, won 11 Tony awards in 2016 and continues to sell out shows across the United States. Joe and Toby enthusiastically explore Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical inspiration and how the songs and artists he grew up... Read more

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November 14, 2018 36 min

It takes a village to raise rap’s first-ever Diamond-seller. To help send his breakout album over the platinum hurdle, hip-hop artist MC Hammer enlisted - via sample and interpolation - Rick James, Marvin Gaye, The Chi-Lites, The Jackson 5, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown (twice) and Prince (three times). It truly is no wonder Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em (released in 1990) has sold over 22 million units to... Read more

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In the midst of breaking out from behind her family’s shadow and deeply wanting to communicate something meaningful in the face of great pressure to conform to corporate formulas, Janet Jackson released her iconic fourth studio album - Rhythm Nation 1814. (At the age of just 23 years old, mind you!) This landmark album fused Jackson’s personal and political voice together, creating a cultural ripple effect that broke down race barr... Read more

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