‘Madlib Samples’ new series looking at and discovering the forgotten gems which have been brought to life by one of the most accomplished, talented and iconic producers to ever do it – Madlib. This feature will look at Juni Morrison’s classic album Suzie Super Groupy, released in 1976 on Westbound Records.
Born in 1954, Walter “Junie” Morrison was a gifted musician who had a rich musical history, learning to play the piano as a child, as well as a vast range of instruments, resulting in him being school director and and orchestra conductor. In 1970, he joined the funk band the Ohio Players, and became the main writer, arranger and producer for the group. This musical leadership led him to release three solo albums, credited as Junie, where he produced and arranged the whole album, playing all the instruments as well. That takes a manic level of talent, and his genius was most evident in his 1976 release Suzie Super Groupy on Westbound Records.
One of the clear highlights is ‘Suzie Thundertussy’ which was sampled by Madlib for Kanye West’s 2016 album The Life of Pablo. The record is called ‘No More Parties in La’ and features two stellar rap features from Kanye and Kendrick Lamar. The highlight really is the overpowering bass and the somewhat sinister chords which create this undeniable groove to it. Junie’s talents can be showcased all over this album through subtle chord progressions which are nothing short of emphatic and chillingly beautiful. The chords lead to an explosive chorus full of joyful and grand moments, with Junie singing about how he loves the girl Suzie in the story, in a very Prince-esque type of quirkiness. Madlib flipped that track and looped the groove that kicks the song off to give a perfect tempo and tone for Kanye and Kendrick to spit their verses. This makes it one of the best songs off that album.
While ‘Suzie Thundertussy’ is the more famous of the songs Madlib has sampled, it’s not the only one off Suzie Super Groupy. ‘What Am I Gonna Do,’ another cut from the album, was sampled on one of Madlib’s Medicine Show No. 13 Black Tape series. The original is a pure funk jam which calls back to the time Junie used to be musical director for Parliament-Funkadelic in the late 70s. Madlib sampled that grooveo effortlessly, giving legendary emcee Blaq Poet way to rap agressively and with charisma, as per usual.
You can find songs off Suzie Super Groupy through a simple Google search, though the LP is available to buy over at discogs.com. A big shoutout to WhoSampled, just because they are genuinely one of the best internet inventions ever.