BB King: Chains and Things

After announcing that he was in home hospice care on his website on May 1st, blues legend Riley “BB” King passed away peacefully this past weekend. He will – and should – be remembered for not only is godlike command of a guitar, but also his tireless work effort. To say that had truly given his life to his craft would be an extreme understatement. In fact, up until last October, he was still actively touring. He graced loving fans with almost 300+ shows a year, which is a tall order even for industry pups.

In a sea of tributes that, alongside the upcoming biopic, will tell an in-depth story of his life and times, I thought I’d use our Samples series as an opportunity to look at one of his timeless songs that will forever live on through the spirit of hip-hop.

Let’s drop the needle into the vinyl shall we?

The year was 1970, and BB dropped Indianola Mississippi Seeds, his eighth studio album. Aside from being critically hailed as the greatest blues crossover album of all time, Riley himself had mentioned many times that he considered the album to be his greatest artistic achievement – and with his track record, that high praise. The album enjoyed Billboard success, and spawned numerous singles. In this segment I’ll be concentrating on the song Chains & Things.

Now if you haven’t heard the track, start here. It’s incredible; Pieces of a frustrated, introspective man’s soul on a record. It’s on some blueprint of dope soul music type stuff.

Now for the most notable flips. Now, any real producer who comes across this track will instantly be drawn to the breakdown at 3:38. This break/loop can be heard in the following three joints:

G -Unit – The Mechanic

Kendrick Lamar feat. MC Eiht – m.A.A.d City

Ice Cube – A Bird In Hand

A few artists rocked the BB Classic a bit different. Most notably, UGK, with an off-the-top loop, and RZA who looped BB’s voice for a track off his Bobby Digital 2 LP.

UGK – Ain’t That A Bitch

RZA – Can’t Lose

BB King was a legend, a visionary and – above all – a true artist. He will be greatly missed.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns