Maceo Parker's Most Memorable Hip-Hop Moments
Starting last night, Maceo Parker, one of the most celebrated and respected saxophonists of all time, returned to the Blue Note for four nights of shows, two shows per night. He's found acclaim for his work with James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic and his award winning solo work, but his importance in hip-hop has gone somewhat understated. From the sheer power of his work being sampled to his incredible collaborations and being one of the first artists outside the genre to embrace having a "hip-hop mix" of their singles, Parker's performances helped laid the foundation for some classic examples of what makes rap great. Here are our picks for five of his most memorable hip-hop moments.
De La Soul 1993
"I Be Blowin," 1993
It's not uncommon to hear spirited debates in hip-hop circles as to which of the first four De La Soul albums is the best, and when fans of their third album Buhloone Mindstate make their case by citing Maceo Parker's involvement, it becomes a hard point to argue. While he's credited for three appearances on the album, including "Patti Dooke" with Gang Starr's Guru, his most visible presence is on the interlude "I Be Blowin." At a time when the group's sound and Prince Paul's production was maturing in every sense of the word, it was a fitting and absolutely wonderful addition to an incredible album.
"Machine Gun Funk," 1994
Even among other absolute rap classics, few artistic visions in hip-hop have been as flushed out and painstakingly realized as Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album Ready to Die. A flawless release, one of the record's most memorable songs "Machine Gun Funk" was largely enhanced by the addition of sampling Parker's collaboration with Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns' "Up For the Down Stroke" punctuating the hook. Sadly, "was" has become the key word there as a December 2005 lawsuit from the Bridgeport Music, Inc., who own the song's publishing, had the addition removed from the recording, stripping one of hip-hop's greatest achievements of one of its most memorable moments.
See also: The Top Five Notorious B.I.G. Trademarks