It was back in June 2020 that I had a think about launching a new series, but it came to nothing, mainly as I found it to be too much hard work. The idea was to breakdown a hit song to shine a light on the various samples it contained. I started the series with Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim. I ended the series with Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim.
But, guess what, I’m going to resurrect it, strictly as a one-off, with a look at a different Fatboy Slim single.
Gangster Trippin’ reached #3 in the UK singles charts in October 1998.
The follow-up to The Rockafeller Skank, it was released two weeks in advance of the album You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby. It was, without question, the golden age for Fatboy Slim, with the album reckoned to have shipped 5 million units worldwide while spending almost two years in the UK charts.
I’ll pick up now from wiki:-
The song contains samples from “Entropy” by DJ Shadow, “Word Play” and “The Turntablist Anthem” by the X-Ecutioners, “Beatbox Wash” by the Dust Junkys (this track contains the song’s chorus line), “Change the Mood” by Jackie Mittoo, “Sissy Walk” by Freedom Now Brothers, and “You Did It” by Ann Robinson.
The recognizable “We gotta kick that gangsta shit” sample comes from the first recorded live performance by jazz rap duo Pete Rock & CL Smooth (sampled by DJ Shadow on “Entropy”). In the radio cut, it was re-edited for censorship purposes.
In 2013, Nicky Lockett (aka MC Tunes) of the Dust Junkys won a three-year court case to recover unpaid royalties for use of his vocals in the main chorus of the song.
And here comes the breakdown.
Entropy dates from 1993. It is seventeen-plus minutes long. It was actually one side of a white-label shared single, with the reverse being Send Them by Asia Born, issued by Solesides, an underground hip label based in California. Entropy is credited in full to DJ Shadow and The Groove Diggers, and consists of seven sections, all of which merge into one another to create, according to all music, “one continuous track moving from upbeat deck-work and bin-shuddering beats through thick, downtempo head music.”
The sample taken by Fatboy Slim comes, initially at just after the four and a half minutes mark. But, as noted above, DJ Shadow was himself sampling Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
Given that The X-Ecutioners were also sampled on Weapon of Choice, I’ll simply repeat that they are New York-based hip hop DJs/turntablists. Both Word Play and The Turntablist Anthem appear on their debut album, X-Pressions that was released in 1997.
Beatbox Wash was actually a b-side on the Dust Junky’s 1997 single, Living In The Pocket Of A Drug Queen. I’ve long had a copy of their one and only album, Done and Dusted, picked up on a whim one day after hearing that Shawn Ryder was a fan. I think I listened to it once and then filed it away.
Change The Mood dates from 1978. Jackie Mittoo, (born as Donat Roy Mittoo), was a Jamaican-born musician who emigrated to Canada in the mid-70s where he became a major part of the reggae scene in Toronto. In later years he would work with a number of UK reggae acts including Sugar Minott, Musical Youth and UB40. He also co-wrote, Armagideon Time, a song famously covered by The Clash as the b-side to London Calling. Jackie sadly died of cancer in 1990 at the young age of 42.
Sissy Walk is a funky instrumental single released in 1969 by Freedom Now Brothers. If Discogs is correct, it was their one and only single.
The same funky horn sound can also be heard on another 1969 single:-
Both singles came out on the Philadelphia-based label, All Brothers. As it turns out, You Did It was released first, with its backing track then forming a later 45. One of the website devoted to Philly soul advises that Ann Robinson released just three singles in her career. I’m afraid I can’t offer up any more info.