Sample of the Week – Kanye West “POWER”

I wanted to do this for Sample of the Week as I remember how much fun I had at University in Music class when chopping this sample onto the MPC. It might be in the top 5 sampled Kanye productions ever, as the final product is one of the greatest singles ever produced by Kanye.

The ultimate comeback single; the multiple layers, the context, the content, the braggadocio, and the fury provide the ingredients to the potent formula of POWER. If ever there was a song which summed up Kanye West at that point in time, it was this one. Pitchfork got it one with “The song takes cues from the militant chants of West’s song “Jesus Walks” from his first album The College Dropout, the drum-style of “Crack Music” from West’s Late Registration, the inspirational aspect of “Stronger” from Graduation and the atmospheric piano and strings featured on 808s & Heartbreak“.

A number of producers were involved with this (Kanye West, Mike Dean, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dawson) but POWER was spearheaded by Symbolic One, who gave the track to Rhymefest initially, who then passed it over to Kanye. S1 was invited to Hawaii to continue working on the track in which Kanye had added a chorus and polished the production, and Andrew Dawson added the King Crimson ‘21st Century Schizoid Man‘ sample. The aforementioned chants, which provide the backbone to the production, are indeed from ‘Afromerica” by American funk band Continent Number 6. The drums have been sampled from “It’s Your Thing” by funk band Cold Grits. Kanye mentioned in multiple interviews that around 5000 man hours went into the production, and noted that this was the first time in his recording history that he wrote down his lyrics, revisiting them over and over again.

An interesting point is that the main line that fuels the lyrics (“No One Man Should Have All That Power“) is a line that Kanye has kept to himself since around 2001-2002 (see video here). Andrew Dawson also notes, “I was the one who found that

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