Sample Sunday

Published on April 14th, 2013 | by Queso

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Sample Sunday: Stevie Wonder – “Superwoman”

I’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE (Mickey Retro’s Revamp) and figured, “why not see what was sampled?” So, the Sweet Life led me to a Superwoman (or Superwoman led me to the Sweet Life). Stevie Wonder meets Pharrell and Frank Ocean in this Sample Sunday.

The Sample

Who doesn’t know Stevie Wonder? Oh, you don’t? My goodness!! What’s wrong with you?? Have you been living under a rock or…WHAT???

Hey, that’s why you’re here–so we can learn ya somethin’.

Stevland Hardaway Morris is some guy who did music and was only regarded as a CHILD PRODIGY!! He is a singer, composer, song-writer and multi-instrumentalist, and has been from an early age. Stevland was discovered and signed to Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11, due in large part to Gerald White nagging his brother, Ronnie White of The Miracles, to go to his friend’s house to hear Stevie. After signing under the name Little Stevie Wonder, he released two albums to little success. He found his first hit in a live recording titled “Fingertips (Part 2)” which included Marvin Gaye on drums and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as R&B Charts in 1963. Stevie would go on to write and compose for many others (he even composed “Tears of a Clown,” which is my favorite Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song) as well as release many more hits.

“Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)” is the second track off of Wonder’s Music of My Mind. There is a noticeable, though smooth, separation in the track, butI’m not sure I can call it a 2-part track. The first half is a soft, smooth and piano-focused sound, transitioning into a more active sound with more guitar and drums. The track reached #33 on the Hot 100 and #13 R&B. This reference to his relationship with his first wife, Syreeta Wright, also served as a step away from the traditional Motown sound.

The Flip

This sample comes mostly from the second half of Stevie Wonder’s track. Frank Ocean’s “Sweet Life” is the third single from his debut album, channel ORANGE. The track is produced by Pharrell Williams, as well as co-written by Frank Ocean and Pharrell Williams. Though Pharrell is credited as a co-writer, the track is considered very personal to Frank. It is his perspective of the lifestyle of the people in Beverly Hills after he relocated there from Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina.

The production on this one has a very jazz-influenced sound. It opens with simple drums and a twinkling piano that carries out throughout the album, then crescendos into a large chorus. Here you can also hear the guitar from the second half of Stevie Wonder’s “Superwoman” and the twinkling throughout “Sweet Life” harkens back to a Stevie Wonder sound.

Whether looking at it from a production, lyrical, or vocal standpoint, it’s really good. Pharrell and Frank Ocean come together to make a dope joint.

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About the Author

is co-founder and editor-in-chief of RapConQueso.com. If he's not fooling around on the website, you may be able to catch him listening to Prince, stream-monstering, or making pancakes. Follow him @theconqueso or email at queso@rapconqueso.com



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