Premier vs. Beatminerz: Who Flipped It Better?

The Blackbyrds:
From Cornbread, Earl and Me Soundtrack (Fantasy, 1975). Also on Lovebyrds.

Gang Starr: Say Your Prayers
From Step Into the Arena (Chrysalis, 1991)

The Roots: Silent Treatment (Beatminerz Remix)
From “Silent Treatment” 12″ (Geffen, 1995)

I’ve had this idea for a long time but had forgotten about it until I had cause to listen to Gang Starr’s Step Into the Arena the other day. I had always remembered “Say Your Prayers” back in the day mostly because I loved the sample but it was also a short song and left me wanting more. I was pleasantly surprised a few years later when the Beatminerz remixed “Silent Treatment” by The Roots and used the same loop: the moody, mellow “Wilford’s Gone” by the Blackbyrds.

Normally, in these situations, I felt like the nod goes to the originator but that rule of thumb has so many exceptions to it (see the uses of “Hydra” by Grover Washington or “Nautilus” by Bob James for excellent examples of how later uses improved upon earlier attempts) that it deserved a re-evaluation. So here you go: part one in a series of side by side comparisons, beginning with a heavyweight face-off between Primo and Mr. Walt/Evil Dee.