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It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Christopher R Weingarten provides a thrilling account of how the Bomb Squad produced such a singular-sounding record: engineering, sampling, scratching, constructing, deconstructing, reconstructing even occasionally stomping on vinyl that sounded too clean. Using production techniques that have never been duplicated, the Bomb Squad plundered and reconfigured their own compositions to make frenetic splatter collages; they played samples by hand together in a room like a rock band to create a not quite right tension; they hand-picked their samples from only the ugliest squawks and sirens.
Weingarten treats the samples used on Nation Of Millions as molecules of a greater whole, slivers of music that retain their own secret histories and folk traditions. Can the essence of a hip-hop record be found in the motives, emotions and energies of the artists it samples? Is it likely that something an artist intended 20 years ago would re-emerge anew? This is a compelling and thoroughly researched investigation that tells the story of one of hip-hop's landmark albums.
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