Eddie Kendricks:Intimate Friends
From Slick (Tamla, 1977). Also on The Ultimate Collection.

Common Sense: A Penny For Your Thoughts
From Can I Borrow a Dollar? (Relativity, 1992)

Sweet Sable: Old Times’ Sake (After Hours Mix)
From 12″ (Street Life, 1993)

213: Another Summer
From The Hard Way (TVT, 2004)

Rhymefest: Sister
From Blue Collar (J, 2006)

When I was listening to the new Rhymefest the other night[1], the song “Sister” came on and the first thought in my mind was, “Intimate Friends” again?

You have to understand, for three summers running, this Eddie Kendricks’ song has been sampled by the likes of Rhymefest, Alicia Keys and 213. Plus, go back a decade and Common used it in 1992, then Sweet Sable the next summer. (I know I’m missing a few others too).

And the thing is, it always sounds really good because you really can’t f— up the original source. “Intimate Friends” simply sounds like summer. Breezy, laid-back and oh-so-soulful. It’s definitely my favorite Kendricks song that doesn’t appear on People…Hold On.

Of the lot above, 213 still did it best if only because they turned this into an official summer anthem in name even if the rest aspired to be that without announcing their intentions. The way Common flipped it way back when was interesting but the engineering on that album (in that era, of course) didn’t really bring out the full beauty of the song. The Sweet Sable was closer to achieving that but it also loses points for just having inane lyrics. And as for the Rhymefast – I’m not mad at it even though it doesn’t do much different from 213. I do wonder if Rhymefest was also trying to nod back at his fellow Chicago-ian, Common but it may just be a coincidence.

[1] Somewhat to my surprise, Blue Collar is actually a real good album. Not perfect but all things considered, I was very satisfied with it both aesthetically and conceptually.