The Ohio Players briefly touched the heights of the pop charts in the '70s, but the funky grooves of the group (who are, indeed, from Ohio) went on to become fertile sample sources for hip-hop producers.
Los Angeles beat-smiths, in particular, have frequently been seduced by the tight workouts on albums like Pleasure and Pain. So, with the group putting on a show at the L.A. County Fair this Saturday, here's a slick round-up of the finest of L.A. rap chaps who've plundered from the Players' funk.
5. King T, “Drunk Tekneek”
Sample: “Introducing The Players”
So tipsy he spelled the title wrong, Compton's self-anointed fool King T drops a swaggering ode to his liquored-up state, bragging that he “couldn't walk a straight line if you let me crawl.” Even in his near-black-out state though, T still manages to explain that he's sipping from “that geno-St. Ides.” (A play on “geno-cide,” perhaps.) Bottoms up!
4. Penthouse Players Clique, “Pimp Lane”
Sample: “Who'd She Coo?”
Eazy-E's one-time Ruthless Records minions Tweed Cadillac and Playa Hamm invoke the funk of the Ohio Players more than once on their debut album, Paid The Cost. This unabashed declaration of pimping features dick-centric one-dimensional lyrics that involve copious cases of fellatio.
3. Ice Cube, “Down For Whatever”
Sample: “Never Had A Dream”
Lethal Injection might have dropped just after Cube reached his brilliant, button-pushing peak, but the album still contains a batch of convincing rap missives, not least this brooding skulk through Cube's inner mind-state. A snatch of the Ohio Players' “Never Had A Dream” creates a menacing platform for observations like: “I'd rather see a skinhead dead/ Than my niggas wearing blue or red.” Also includes Cube's then-obligatory barb at Korean store owners.
2. Ice-T, “Bitches 2”
Sample: “Pride and Vanity”
On this track, Tracy tells the world “what a bitch really is.” Clue: It's not a gender-specific thing, and usually involves snitching, beating on your spouse, ditching your pals during a shoot-out at a party, or the heinous crime of selecting Martini & Rossi as your drink of choice. The slinky low-end funk of the Ohio Players' “Pain and Vanity” is an apt choice for Ice's worldly musings.
1. N.W.A., “Dopeman”
Sample: “Funky Worm”
The sinewy grooves of “Funky Worm” are used here to create an uncompromising tribute to the intricacies of dope dealing. Eazy's curt cameo, in particular, is a stellar lesson in the economy of gangsta rap-ography, complete with his brave admission that he wears corduroy. Even today, the Compton crew's ballsy attitude makes most modern dope rap sound quaint and tame by comparison. (Mo' Ohio funk for that trunk: “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Dayz Of Wayback.”)