When Eminem released “Berzerk” Monday (August 26) as the second song off of his upcoming MMLP2 album project, he joined a very exclusive club — “The Stroke” club. Before your mind heads to dirty places, read on.
“Berzerk” features Em in typically angry mode, as he yaps and yelps his way through a rant that includes tabloid targets the Kardashians. At one point Slim Shady also advocates letting your beard grow out, which is handy as the track was produced by bushy production master Rick Rubin, who conjured up a boomin’ beat by tapping into ’80s rock man Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” — a jam that has found its way into many a songs in the past.
With big beats now apparently back in vogue, here’s a quintet of other artists who have also mined from Squier’s loud-ass sample stash.
1. Jay-Z, “99 Problems”
Here we have Hov’s last great unadulterated rap moment. The bearded Rubin is again the mastermind behind the monstrous track, and this time he harkens back to hip-hop’s breakbeat heritage and snaffles up part of Squier’s classic “The Big Beat” to help power Jay’s rhymes home.
2. Company Flow, “Worker Ant Uprise”
Culled from EL-P’s former group’s instrumental offering on the Rawkus label, “Worker Ant Uprise” begins in a low-key fashion with some pitter-patter synth work. Then the caustic guitar stabs and drums kick in, courtesy of “The Stroke.”
3. A$AP Rocky, “Out Of This World”
The closing track on the Harlem fashionista’s breakthrough Live.Love.A$AP mixtape, “Out Of This World” mines from Squier’s vintage “The Big Beat” break. Wisely, producers The Olympicks pair the drums with spacey synth lines to add an uptown twist to the formula.
4. Girl Talk, “Friday Night”
A modern mash-up, Girl Talk’s “Friday Night” pairs a snatch of Squier’s wailing vocals on “The Stroke” with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s anthemic “Nuthin’ But A G Thang.” It’s a compelling combo.
5. Run-DMC, “Here We Go (Live At The Funhouse)”
As brilliantly raw as rap gets, here Run and DMC go back and forth coining cocksure ’83 brag raps over Jam Master Jay cutting up Squier’s “The Big Beat.” Rhymes are rocked and turntables are twirled ’til the early morn, as they so energetically put it.