Unexpected Sample Source: M.C. Twist and the Def Squad's "I Like It Loud"
How a 1989 Luke Skyywalker Records release turned into a perfect element for samping and replaying in Three 6 Mafia and DJ Squeeky production.
In 1989 M.C. Twist and The Def Squad released their lone group LP Comin' Thru Like Warriors on Luke Skyywalker Records. Hailing from San Jose, California, the group represented represented a change of pace for the label in terms of both geography and style.
M.C. Twist and Kay Jay are credited with producing the entire album under the moniker Chill Style Productions and their beats are not sonically similar to Luke and 2 Live Crew. They use obvious but well-executed samples of Vaughan Mason and Crew’s “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll” and Roger’s “So Ruff, So Tuff” on the self-critical and reflective “So Ruff.” The track also features some impressive scratches from Boy Flash, including a killer breakdown of LL Cool J’s “I’m Bad.”
On “B.L.N.T.” they interpolated Bernard Wright’s “Haboglabotribin’” four years before Dr. Dre sampled it for Snoop Dogg’s “Gz and Hustlas” while an uncredited pianist brings some imperfect playing and interesting flavor to the track.
“I Like It Loud” utilizes speaker-distorting basslines, sparse drums, and electric guitar scratches to build one of the record’s standout cuts. The track also takes on a somewhat dark and menacing tone when the unique hook comes in. Unbeknownst to M.C. Twist and Kay Jay, “I Like It Loud” would eventually catch on in Memphis and become important sample source for Three Six Mafia and DJ Squeeky.
The song first appeared DJ Paul & the late Lord Infamous’ 1992 collaborative tape The Serial Killaz. Demonstrating his knack for blending a wild hodge podge of samples together and somehow making it work, Paul mixed snippets of Public Enemy’s “Miuzi Weighs A Ton,” M.C. Twist and The Def Squad’s “I Like It Loud,” and the Memphis rap sample staple “Ike's Mood I” by Isaac Hayes.
Paul once again put the sample to work on the Lord Infamous-assisted “Everybody Make Noise” for his 1993 Volume 12, Part 2 tape. The beat sounds like the exact same instrumental used on “The Killaman.”
On Mack Daddy Ju’s 1995 cut “Project Born Material” DJ Squeeky made impressive use of the ominous “I Like It Loud” sounds while blending in the 808s from The Showboys’ “Drag Rap,” a once obscure song that Spanish Fly and other Memphis and New Orleans artists turned into a frequently sampled, must-have record.
Juicy J, Lil’ Pat, and DJ Paul used Twist and Kay Jay’s hypnotic production for the hook on Kingpin Skinny Pimp’s “Let's Start a Riot” from his 1996 underground classic King Of Da Playaz Ball. Three 6 Mafia later remade the song for the 2003 record Da Unbreakables.
“I Like It Loud” also became an important element for Paul and Juicy J’s co-produced Gangsta Boo cuts on her 1998 debut Enquiring Minds and the under-appreciated 2001 follow-up Both Worlds, Star 69. Direct samples are the centerpiece of "Don't Stand So Close" featuring the Tear Da Club Up Thugs, while a second sampling of “I Like It Loud” works well in tandem with a “Drag Rap” replay on “Wanna Go to War.”
Instead of sampling “I Like It Loud” again on Boo’s sophomore album, Paul and Juicy J utilized a really nice replay on “Don't Stand So Close 2001.”
Not to be outdone, DJ Squeeky went back to the 1989 Luke Skyywalker release for his 2002 album Tha Legacy with the hazy, Mac Kyle-assisted weed smoking anthem “Bud Keeps Me Fiending.” This immersive track makes for a truly trippy listening experience.
Despite its frequent use during the ‘90s and early-2000s, "I Like It Loud" hasn’t been sampled or replayed for a over a decade. Koopsta Knicca’s 2010 track “They Don’t Wanna Fight” was the last song to use it.
As for M.C. Twist and the Def Squad, Comin Thru Like Warriors was their only project together. Twist dropped the self-produced Bad Influence in 1990 and the Goldfingaz-produced MVP in 1998, but he hasn’t had a full-length solo project in over two decades. Kay Jay has a few scattered credits on Discogs but hasn’t been involved in anything as substantive as his co-production work with Twist from 32 years ago.
In a relatively young rap industry the sounds of “I Like It Loud” traveled from San Jose to Miami and later served as a major source of inspiration for several hugely influential Memphis producers. Though the careers of M.C. Twist and the Def Squad have been dormant for many years, hopefully they are aware of their impact.
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