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How to have a hit record by sampling someone else's track. Twice.

If an artist of the stature of Kanye West can have a hit record using a sample of someone else's track, then maybe that someone else had sampled someone else already...

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Kanye West or 50 Cent? It could be the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones all over again...

You have probably heard Kanye's song Stronger already. Of course he does a great vocal, and there's an interesting mix of harmonies in there. Who would ever have thought of harmony in rap, but there it is for all to hear.

Here's a short clip of the song...

Yes, great rap vocal, but great backing track as well. Fascinating rhythm eerie vocoder sounds. Must be great to work in Kanye's studio with all that going on.

But wait a minute... Doesn't that backing sound a little familiar? Maybe you've heard it before too. Here's an edited version of the original...

Yes of course! It's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk. And what a creation! It's weird and cute at the same time. And as for the vocoder - well every now and then a vocoder track comes out, but this has to be up there with the best of them since Sparky's Magic Piano.

And the rhythm. How amazing it would be to be in the studio with musicians of such amazing quality.

But wait another minute... it sounds kind of familiar. A little bit like...

Yes. I knew I'd heard it before. It's Cola Bottle Baby by Edwin Birdsong.

Oh to be in the studio when it was made...

But wait yet another minute. Perhaps Edwin sampled someone else's track. Perhaps there is another layer to be discovered.

No, perhaps not. Cola Bottle Baby was released in 1979. No samplers around then. But of course there were tape loops so perhaps...

In summary, three great tracks. But where does the real artistry lie - Kanye West, Daft Punk or Edwin Birdsong?

You decide...

P.S. In the spirit of a review, make sure to buy these tracks. Your iPod deserves them.

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006
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