DJ Afrika Islam – Zulu Beats Show WHBI 1983 [Chemical Brothers Sample Source]

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There are many examples of soundbites and aural doo-dads that have their origins in Rap radio, Wu Tangs’ ‘Again and again’, No More Music by the Suckers on the Public Enemy LP, Art of Noise taking shards of the Zulu Beats Show on WHBI from 1983 just a few examples.

Radio is a fleeting medium, something disposable, something that passes without attention alotta the time. But when I was younger, like thousands of kids listening to Hip-Hop in the 80s & 90s, we would press play and record to capture the tunes we were hearing. We probably thought that we’d never hear them again, because everyone that wasnt enjoying them, was telling us Rap was a fad……..Whether it was because we couldn’t afford to buy the records being aired, or simply because we didn’t live in a location that gave us the opportunity to buy records, one way or another we’d preserve the sounds by taping them off the radio. Somehow, some way, it seems that the electronic music outfit The Chemical Brothers were doing the same, or at least came across a recording made by someone who did.


This post is about hearing a Chemical Brothers tune in 1996, and losing my shit because of a DJs’ voice I recognised from a radio show from 1983 !

If you were open-minded enough to be listening to authentic Hip-Hop and the Chemical Brothers back then or now, you might enjoy this shard of sound. And when I heard the mind-bendin percussive b-boy funk on one of their finest productions Get Up On It Like This, off their Loops of Fury EP, I immediately recognised the vocal source……

FYI – In 1997, for the Block Rockin Beats hit, they sampled a snippet of vocals from a 1989 track called Gucci Again by Philly Rapper Schoolly D.

…and then again in 1999, they sampled a 1984 release by Rockmaster Scott on their [almost] chart topping smash Hey Boy Hey Girl.

As general points of reference with regards to radio shows being sampled on Rap records, the opening to the Def Jam classic Public Enemy No.1 features a recording of the first Rap radio DJ, Mr Magic, complaining that the track was ‘Kinda weak’, on his WBLS Rap Attack show alongside super-producer Marley Marl. Just the fact that he had the nerve to claim that there would be ‘No More Music by the Suckers’ was myopic to say the least. Big shouts to Will C for this one…

The opening to the Wu-Tang Clan classic Protect Ya Neck ‘I wanna hear that Wu-Tang joint, again and again‘ is a perfect example. The ‘Roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it’ Intermission that follows Can it All Be So Simple on 36 Chambers is another one. Both of these are taken from radio recordings*.

‘All That Scratchins’ Makin You Itch?’ and the famous ‘How do you Manage to stay up to 4 O’Clock in the morning?’ lines are both from the Trevor Horn produced Duck Rock album by Malcolm McLaren**. The tracks being Buffalo Gals and Double Dutch. Both of these were lifted from radio recordings of the World’s Famous Supreme Team Show, a truly pioneering radio show from New York [WHBI] that was broadcasting during the very early 80s.

Another WHBI show was The Zulu Beat, presented by the ‘Son of Bambaataa’, the chap that produced Ice Ts’ finest works, Afrika Islam. This DJ and these shows have a special place in the hearts of old school heads for many reasons. Even Tom & Ed from The Chemical Brothers had a jones for it.

Check the opening to the WHBI recording to catch a sample that you won’t find on WhoSampled [unless some fool gaffles this and transfers it to youtube].

*If anyone has this recording, or knows the radio show/ station, let’s talk.

**The answer to the question posed to Little Shee was ‘Too Much of that Snow White’….

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