February 11, 2011

Abe Beame is really the sixth Winans brother.

Admittedly, I took my eye off the ball when it comes to the wacky, wonderful world of R&B impresario Trey Songz. He took shots at the thrown when he dissed my boy (link: ), Rhythm and Blues superhero R.Kelly, talking out of both sides of his mouth. At the time of his comments, Songz had a radio jam that sounded like it was written, produced and performed by the pied piper of R&B, so I dismissed the kid as an also ran who put out a few hot singles. But the other day I caught his six month old “Can’t Be Friends” on Hot 97, produced by Mario Winans. And while the song is a pretty decent break up jam on its own merits, it struck me as naggingly familiar.

With minimal research I came across the unlikely, hilarious sample source: it’s “Bibi no aozora” by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, better known as the theme of acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2006 critical darling, “Babel”. We’ve seen teeny bop crooners sample world music compositions/foreign cinema themes before, when Bobby Valentino sampled Tan Dun’s “Yearning for Peace”, the theme from Jet Li’s Hero. But Trey Songz gets a special distinction for the randomness of sampling this intensely dramatic, largely foreign art house feature. No word yet on what Neyo has planned for the theme from Iñárritu’s latest, Biutiful.

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