One of the many reasons why we love hip hop music, is that it functions as a musical time machine. Our Grooves & Samples series is based on that: modern day hip hop tracks introduce us to old jazz, funk and soul jams, dating back to days when some of us weren’t even born. This week we highlight “If You Let Me” by soul legend Eddie Kendricks.
Grooves & Samples is a weekly dive into old dusty crates of jazz, funk, soul and beyond.
One of the many reasons why we love hip hop music, is that it functions as a musical time machine. Our Grooves & Samples series is based on that: modern day hip hop tracks remind us about or introduce us to old jazz, funk and soul jams, dating back to days when most The Find writers weren’t even born yet. This week we highlight “If You Let Me” by soul legend Eddie Kendricks.
Eddie Kendricks is mostly known for his leading work with The Temptations and as a signee of Motown Records. The Temptations enjoyed major hits in the mid-to-late 60s, but Kendricks decided to leave the successful soul sensation to pursue a solo career in the early 70s. Many Temptations fans questioned the wisdom of him leaving the group, but Kendricks proved to be viable as a solo act with singles as “Keep On Truckin'” (sampled by EPMD for their track “Underground”), “Boogie Down”, and “Intimate Friends”, which was sampled for tracks by the likes of Samon Kawamura, Common, Ill Al Skratch and KnowMads.
Sadly, the 1990s mark the premature deaths of three (former) members of The Temptations. First David Ruffin died of a cocaine overdose in 1991, followed by Melvin Franklin (brain seizure) and the death of 52-year-old Eddie Kendricks as a result of his struggle with lung cancer.
But his musical legacy lives on through his many soul/disco songs and by producers who immortalize his music by sampling his classic material. The following four tracks stand out to us. A smooth loop by producer LuvJonez off his album Mental Rental, a raw street track by M.O.P., Masta Ace’s “Brooklyn Battles” produced by Marley Marl, and a softer interpretation by Asher Roth titled “Charlie Chaplin” off his mixtape Pabst & Jazz, which is full of jazz inspiration and sampling.