Count on Madlib to find obscure Jamaican dancehall samples for his music. This time, we will be paying attention to a sample from Tenor Saw, Yami Bolo and Joe Lickshot Radio’s emission “Dance Hall Live,” which was released as vinyl in 1991 from the album Tenor Saw Lives On: A Tribute to Tenor Saw. It was a tribute to the late reggae legend, who sadly passed away in 1988. It’s a rare bit of music and radio, which in digital form comes in the form of a 46-minute recording on YouTube.
The whole Tenor Saw Lives On: A Tribute to Tenor Saw album is well worth the listen as it contains some pretty excellent reggae and dancehall moments. The sample that Madlib used for track 5 off Bandana “Massage Seats” comes at 2:44 on the video below, and features wailing, powerful vocals that brings me chills just listening to it. There is so much passion in the singer’s voice, and Madlib was able to channel that passion in a dark, murky beat that echoes that vocal sample behind thick basslines and an incredible, heavy energy. Freddie’s flow fits perfectly with this track, who raps his usual drug raps in a menacing way. The individual samples throughout the track such as “Wheel Up!” are fantastic, while the dark, hectic energy of the record as a whole makes it one of the more harder-hitting tracks on the album.
Listen to Tenor Saw, Yami Bolo and Joe Lickshot Radio’s “Dance Hall Live” below via YouTube. As mentioned, the sample appears at 2:44 of the recording. This was released off the 1991 album Tenor Saw Lives On: A Tribute to Tenor Saw. Released via Sky Hall. Purchase information can be found here via discogs.com.
Listen to Madlib & Freddie Gibbs’ track “Massage Seats” off their 2019 collaborative album Bandana.