Observing Mariah Carey’s masterful use of sampling in her music is one of the best ways of understanding her work and enjoying her gift. Here we will have a quick look into her biggest Christmas classic.
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In 1982, Afrika Bambaataa (disc jockey from the Bronx/NYC) along with his group “Soulsonic Force”, released a track that in 2000 was partly used in a remix. Produced by JD, the So So Def Remix was made for the re-release of one of the most played tracks in the world every year since 1994. Bambaataa’s creation – which has also been used in hundreds of tracks since its release – will certainly be used in hundreds more for its classic beat.
It makes every sense to sample “Planet Rock” in an “All I Want For Christmas Is You” remix. The song, omnipresent from November 1 to December 25 (or all year long for the lambs) and a universal symbol of Christmas, has its appeal amplified by having in its remix one of the biggest references in electronic percussion – in the hip hop world and beyond. It’s not by chance that a Christmas song sounds so natural when translated into a genre that is so distant from the holiday traditional.
Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock”, though, has in its DNA yet another sample. Its rhythmic recipe comes from “Numbers” (1981) by the German group Kraftwerk. The proportionally somewhat irregular kicks over the regular snares give “Numbers” its characteristic flow adopted by Bambaataa. “Planet Rock” became the go-to sample without ever losing its charm. Another big influence in Bambaataa’s music, by coincidence, was Yellow Magic Orchestra, a band that made another song we are yet to talk about. And since we’ve drifted out of subject a little, “Always Be My Baby Mr. Dupri Mix” features Xscape, who sampled “Planet Rock” in “What’s Up” back in 2006; Ciara joined the party three years ago with “Fly” ; Planet Soul’s example is in “Feel The Music” twelve years prior and Brazilian radio-inclined Latino with “Me Leva”.
One of the best parts of this remix is that even though “Planet Rock” has been around for so long, when you listen to it, it sounds like an original and not an alternate version. That’s why it’s such a great fit. It’s two massive symbols in their own niches coming together to make something else that bares all: the soul and fun and everything else from “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and the contagious and overtaking beat of “Planet Rock” giving it a funk that is always so welcome (not only) at Christmastime.