Never one to shy away from a challenge, I got a little intrigued this morning when tweet-mate @MarkDiStef threw down the gauntlet requesting that if J could locate the fairly arbitrary roots of one of the 90s biggest-selling singles – ‘My Name Is‘ was in fact The Slim Shady LP’s second single but it’s commercial debut given ‘Just Don’t Give A Fuck’ was it’s first – then surely I could uncover the sample behind the now ubiquitous Australian hip-hop summer jam, Drapht’s ‘Rapunzel’. Drapht, a West Australian and therefore largely isolated from what might be seen as the major heartlands of Aus-hop, Adelaide and the East Coast, has pulled off a major coup with ‘Rapunzel’. Punctuated with pop-culture references (Naomi and Russell phone attack double!) and expertly produced by Funkoars favourite Trials, ‘Rapunzel’ – a fairytale reference hangover from his last record 2008’s ‘Brothers Grimm’ – came in at 12 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown. It is also fantastic to rap to in the car. Take my word for it.
Drapht – Rapunzel
In any event, it turns out that I got the raw end of the bargain when it came to tracking down the origins of popular rap tracks. Where Dr Dre’s sampling is fairly well documented, it took a fair amount of good deal of detective work to uncover the musos behind Drapht’s airwave conqueror. More significantly, I was put on the wrong track more than a couple of times by suggestions that it was either Nirvana or Bliss N Eso lending their riff to the track. But alas, the origins of ‘Rapunzel’ lay even further afield than that – the jangly rock grab belonged to 1960s garage rock nobodies The Heirs. And when I say nobodies, I mean nobodies. The Heirs exist on the internetz only in reference to this one track and that itself formed only part of a Pebbles-style compilation album: the Northwest Battle of the Bands, Volume III. Can you get more nondescript?
While Trials’ efforts in shining up this fossil and turning it into a certified hit give unprecedented gravity to the term ‘crate digging’, The Heirs’ track – titled ‘Do You Want Me’ on the Ace Records re-release but should, methinks, be labelled ‘Don’t You Love Me?’ – is a pretty good find. Just how good the original is might be implied from the fact that Trials has kept largely to its instrumentation and worked in Drapht’s vocals around some of its more exciting parts (particularly the ‘don’t you love me anymore?’ refrain at 2’02”). So, that one solved for the time being, I will go back to looking busy, testing my new shoes (think right one is narrower?) and pondering how I’m going to make blog postings last longer. As an escape from the daily grind, I can thoroughly recommend both The Heirs’ White Stripes/Strokes/Interpol-esque (see: post-punk revival) original and Drapht’s postmodern reimagining.
The Heirs – Do You Want Me
PS. Sorry for lesser quality mp3s – as you can imagine, both are fairly difficult tracks to come across in Thailand!