Sample Sundays: Michael McDonald

It’s Sample Sunday time people, and you can be “any geek off the street” to read, listen and enjoy.

This week’s sample comes from one of the originators blue-eyed soul (white people singing soul music) – Michael McDonald. Over his career, McDonald has sung back-up vocals for Steely Dan, been a member of The Doobie Brothers “(recording a number of his hit songs with them), had a successful solo career, won five Grammy’s, and scored a prominent role in The 40 Year-Old Virgin (not really, but he was in there).

This Michael McDonald sample comes from his first solo album, the 1982 certified-Gold album, If That’s What It Takes. That track is the unforgettably funky and soulful “I Keep Forgettin’.”

Michael McDonald – “I Keep Forgettin’”

McDonald’s vocals are impeccable as he goes all over the place. But more than anything, this track is something for its work on the keys, the funky guitar riffs, and the bass.

And now, if you didn’t recognize it immediately (or catch the hint from the beginning of the post), here is the West-Coast hip-hop classic that sampled this McDonald jam:

Warren G ft. Nate Dogg – “Regulate”

Warren G may not have had the most successful rap career, but damn if this isn’t one of, if not the best, examples of G-Funk ever put on wax. “Regulate” was originally release in the summer of 1994 on the soundtrack to the film Above The Rim, which stars another West-Coast legend – Tupac Shakur – and was subsequently put out on the must have Regulate…G Funk Era later that year.

“Regulate” is almost a direct sample of McDonald’s song, but the bass is turned up and the drums hit hard as hell. Somehow a song about heartache is transformed into one of the smoothest and funkiest street narratives this writer has ever heard.

Though, the real star of this song is its featured artist, Nate Dogg. As “all the true gangsta’s know,” Nate Dogg’s voice has become indispensable to the West-Coast sound. It’s a shame he is no longer with us and still recording hooks that guaranteed radio success and that one thing radio friendly hip-hop is missing these days – soul.

Bonus Sample:

After covering Warren G, and giving Nate Dogg his proper, and much needed, due, it is only fitting that this week’s Bonus Sample comes from another Nate Dogg classic.

Maze ft. Frankie Beverly – “While I’m Alone”

Nate Dogg – “G Funk”