Sample Clearance: Willie Mitchell – “Groovin'”

I’ve always loved the GZA song “Liquid Swords, so it makes sense that I love the sample it is mainly built on, Willie Mitchell‘s “Groovin’. I was reminded of this due to Rapsody & 9th Wonder basically remaking “Liquid Swords” on their latest song, “Ibtiha. Here are some random thoughts on the original sample and songs that used it:

The O.G. song, “Groovin'” by Willie Mitchell is surprisingly a dope instrumental all by itself. Even though it’s over 50 years old.

I read a few things on Willie Mitchell but this TED Talk about his influence on pop culture sums it up much better than I could have:

GZA’s “Liquid Sword” is a classic song. So much that I added it the Official nappyafro Playlist. See, if you were following it on Spotify, you would know this already.

And while “Liquid Sword” is a classic, I think “Ibtiha” uses Willie Mitchell’s “Groovin'” sample better (It that makes sense). Then again, RZA had me thinking that the sample was from some old kung-fu flick, so that’s something.

Back to “Liquid Swords”: My favorite part of the song is the ending of the hooks “Yo, RZA, flip the track with the what to cut…” and however you write out GZA making DJ scratching noise. My least favorite part is the long-ass intro from Shogun Assassin. It’s cool for an album intro but it’s over a minute long and should have been a separate track.

GZA’s Liquid Swords (The album, not the song) feels like it gets overlooked when mentioning those first few Wu-Tang Clan solo albums. I don’t know how well is it’s aged since 1995 but I used to play the fuck out of it when it was originally released.

Speaking of Liquid Swords (The album, not the song), the comic book geek in me always loved the cover.

Alternatively, the music video for “Liquid Swords” (The song, not the album) was boring as hell.

Something for the old heads: Did you know Misa Hylton was the creative director for the Rapsody “Ibtihaj” music video? That’s Diddy’s first baby mother aka the woman in the jacuzzi with the Diddy Puff Daddy in the “Big Poppa” music video aka the first Black woman I saw with platinum blonde hair in the ’90s.

I guess I could have also included Jazmine Sullivan’s “My Foolish Heart” on this list too. But I didn’t because I only liked the first few seconds of that song.

Okay, that’s enough rambling. Check out the original sample as well as the GZA/RZA and Rapsody/9th Wonder takes below:

Willie Mitchell – “Groovin'”
GZA – “Liquid Swords”
Rapsody feat. D’Angelo & GZA – “Ibtiha”