Sample: Lou Reed “Walk on the Wild Side” (1972)
Album: People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths to Rhythm
Producer: A Tribe Called Quest
“Walk on the Wild Side,” Lou Reed’s epic ballad of the trannies, hookers and junkies who hung out at Andy Warhol's Factory, co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, must have sounded pretty out there when it dropped in 1972. Among the reasons being the twin, interlocking bass lines played by session musician Herb Flowers. In an interview years later, Flowers said he used two basses because, as a session player, he’d get paid double for using two instruments. Damn, that’s hip-hop.
As it turned out, those bass lines locked perfectly with the drum break from Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Spinning Wheel” when A Tribe Called Quest looped it up 18 years later for “Can I Kick It?.” Tribe’s third single, too, sounded like nothing else at the time, giving Tip, Phife, and Ali Shaheed one of their best loved tunes, and inspiring a run of beat bites from Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, among others.