Blog

My blog is my space to highlight academic work outside of my formal publications. Posts vary from short essays to album reviews to exemplary student work to small sample-digs that I use as warm-ups for my courses. This blog also contains the burgeoning archive of artist interviews that I am collecting for my dissertation, "Writing in the Break."

  • Tyler Bunzey

Digging the Digital Crates: Syl Johnson's "Different Strokes" for Different Folks

Syl Johnson is an American blues and soul singer whose relatively obscure track "Different Strokes" (1968) has found a significant rebirth in hip-hop's golden age.


Johnson was sampled in Eric B. and Rakim's "I Know You Got Soul" (1987) @2:30.

And also in Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" (1989) @2:20


And Wu-Tang's "Shame on a Nigga" (1993)

And "The Joy" (2010) by Kanye West and Jay-Z @0:31

And "His Pain II" (2012) by BJ the Chicago Kid and Kendrick Lamar

Johnson's track has been sampled over 300 times in hip-hop history, including prominent samples by Public Enemy, EPMD, Schoolly D (first gangster rapper), 2 Live Crew, Eric B. and Rakim, Jungle Brothers, Brand Nubian, Tupac, Wu-Tang, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kendrick, Pharaohe Monche, Talib Kweli, and many others. Johnson now claims that he has gotten rich off of his track being sampled in hip-hop (https://www.laweekly.com/music/is-syl-johnson-rich-off-of-rap-samples-he-says-so-2410849). Get your money, Syl!