December 4, 2021

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15 songs that sample the timeless discography of Philadelphia International Records and The Sound of Philadelphia


Gamble & Huff | Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

During Black History Month, I created a series called Give Them Their Flowers by speaking to local artists Jacqueline Constance, Lenora Elaine, Yesseh Ali and James Weldon to reflect on their musical influences — as well as the influences Philly has had on Black music artistry. There’s a lot to be proud of if you’re a music artist from the city of Brotherly Love, considering that it’s the place where music producers/songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff created Philadelphia International Records, celebrating its 50th anniversary. The work these two legendary music producers/songwriters created shaped how Black music would be loved and respected over the years.

West Philly native (Kenny Gamble) and Camden born (Leon Huff) have impacted black music and the music industry that is still felt 50 years later. The duo were responsible for creating the The Sound of Philadelphia – T.S.O.P. – described by Christopher A. Daniel as a hybrid of lush string arrangements, pre-disco rhythms, jazz horns, precise melodies, spirited harmonies, and funky grooves performed by their 40-piece orchestra. Their sound was responsible for the success of artists such as Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Ojays, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti Labelle, Phyllis Hyman, Lou Rawls and many more. “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” was used the theme song for the legendary music dance show Soul Train.

In the 70s, Philadelphia International Records (PIR) was the second-largest Black-owned music company behind Motown Records and were instrumental. Kenny Gamble, along with his them wife, legendary Philadelphia DJ Dyana Williams created Black Music Appreciation Month in June. Many of the accomplishments made by Gamble and Huff led them to becoming members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Music Hall of Fame. Though their music was created during the 70s and 80s,  it’s impact would effect the next generation of black music artists and producers.

Like many artists from the city I’m honored to be from a place that has shaped music in so many ways, especially when it comes to music from my generation. Hip hop bridges the gap between the old and new generation and the soul music that was created in Philly has been like the concrete for that bridge, creating some of amazing songs. To celebrate Philadelphia International Records 50th anniversary, here are 15 songs that sampled their discography.

Ja Rule, “I Cry”
Sample appears at 0:00 (and throughout)

O’Jays – “Cry Together”
Sample appears at 1:20 

JAY-Z “This Can’t Be Life”
Sample appears at 0:01 (and throughout)

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes “I Miss You”
Sample appears at 0:15


Mary J. Blige “Mary Jane (All Night Long)”
Sample appears at 0:22 (and throughout)

Teddy Pendergrass, “Close the Door”
Sample appears at 0:12


Big K.R.I.T., “Boobie Miles”
Sample appears at 0:00 (and throughout)

MFSB, “Morning Tears”
Sample appears at 0:57


Kendrick Lamar, “YAH.”
Sample appears at 0:00 (and throughout)

Billy Paul, “How Good Is Your Game”
Sample appears at 0:00


Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland, “Dilemma”
Sample appears at 0:33 (and throughout)

Patti LaBelle, “Love, Need and Want You”
Sample appears at 0:25


Miguel feat. J. Cole, “All I Want Is You”
Sample appears at 0:00 (and throughout)

Lou Rawls, “Lifetime Monologue”
Sample appears at 0:00


112, “You Already Know”
Sample appears at 0:04 (and throughout)

Phyllis Hyman, “Can’t We Fall in Love Again”
Sample appears at 0:00


Common, “The 6th Sense”
Sample appears at 0:11 and 0:13 (and throughout)

The Intruders, “Memories Are Here to Stay”
Sample appears at 0:03 and 0:20


The Game, “Dreams”
Sample appears at 0:06 and 0:17 (and throughout)

Jerry Butler, “No Money Down”
Sample appears at 1:17


NxWorries, “Lyk Dis”
Sample appears at 0:00

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, “Ebony Woman”
Sample appears at 0:03


50 Cent, “Ski Mask Way”
Sample appears at 0:00 (and throughout)

The O’Jays, “What Am I Waiting For”
Sample appears at 0:00 (and throughout)


Nelly, “My Place”
Sample appears at 1:23 (and throughout)

“Teddy Pendergrass, “Come Go With Me”
Sample appears at 0:12


DJ Khaled feat. Kanye West, Consequence and John Legend, “Grammy Family”
Sample appears at 0:01 (and throughout)

Lou Rawls, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”
Sample appears at 0:43


Mobb Deep, “Cradle to the Grave”
Sample appears at 0:33

Teddy Pendergrass, “And if I Had”
Sample appears at 0:02

Tags: Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Lou Rawls, Patti Labelle, Philadelphia International Records, Philly soul, Phyllis Hyman, Soul Train, Teddy Pendergrass, The Ojays, The Sound Of Philadelphia





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