Who Flipped It Better? 50 Cent vs. Travis Scott
The Sample: Bobby Bland - '(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right' (1973)
Some two years before Luther Ingram's smash hit version of '(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right,' a guy named Bobby "Blue" Bland recorded his own version of the song. It's not clear whether Bland ever intended to release the track, because in the late '60s Don Robey, who ran the Peacock-Duke label that Bland was signed to, took it upon himself to release an album called 'If Loving You Is Wrong' by Bland with a version of Ingram's song on it.
In 1973, the song was re-released with fresh strings as the version you hear above. This sounds like the bluesier original version of the song, sans strings. Bland was a bluesman through and through; his longevity allowed him to bleed into the soul category that Stax eventually dominated. When he died last year, he was known as one of the greatest vocalists to ever successfully merge soul, gospel, R&B and the blues.
Flip 1: 50 Cent - 'High All The Time' (Prod. by DJ Rad, Co-Prod. by Eminem & Sha Money XL) 
50 Cent's 'Get Rich Or Die Trying' is a classic -- at least for anyone who came of age in the early '00s. 'In Da Club' and 'Patiently Waiting' co-existed on the radio. Gangster rap -- made by a former gangster -- was being eaten up by the masses again, and it was fueled by Dre beats. 'GRODT' thrived because it was diverse; it avoided being pinned down as a strictly gangster rap album because 50 actually culled his super power from his pop appeal, not his street cred. Songs like '21 Questions,' 'P.I.M.P.,' and even 'I Can't' relied on melody at their core, and the songwriting is what allowed 50 to rise above the competition.
Another reason why 'GRODT' is an incredible album is because of the deep cuts. When you play the album all the way through, there aren't really any tracks worth skipping. 'High All The Time' is one of those songs that wasn't very big, but still gets its props over a decade later. It had Dre's sheen, Em's attention to detail, and 50's sneering swagger, all rolled into one woolie. That song, along with other lesser-known tracks like 'Back Down' and 'Poor Lil Rich,' elevated the album to the status of a classic.
But the album's production is clearly the strongest selling point. It was hardly sample-based, and to even label the album's production as East Coast would be a stretch. 50 sounded like a Southern rapper over beats that seemed to meld many regions together at once. That's what helped him go from a mixtape rapper to an international superstar, and it show son songs like 'High All The Time,' where the sample use is so subtle, you barely know it's there.
Flip 2: Travis Scott - 'Mamacita' (Feat. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan) [Prod. by DJ Dahi, Metro Boomin & Travis Scott] (2014)
DJ Dahi, Metro Boomin and Travis Scott made the beat for 'Mamacita' at Diddy's crib, according to Travis Scott. When 'Days Before Rodeo' dropped on Aug. 18, production credits began to pop up on the album's Wikipedia page. As of August 28, Travis Scott had only been credited as a co-producer on two songs: 'Don't Play' and 'Skyfall.' As of right now, every single song on that album's page has had a Travis Scott co-production credit added to it without a source. The back cover of 'Days Before Rodeo' did not list any production credits, which explains why all the producers show up as "Uncredited" on the album's Discogs page.
Shortly after 'Days Before Rodeo' came out, a Dutch graphic designer named Youp Wehnes accused Travis Scott of stealing and altering his original art for the cover of 'Days Before Rodeo' without telling, paying or crediting the 19 year old. Travis never addressed the issue. And it gets deeper.
In 2012, a guy named Shane Morris wrote a blog post (that's now erased, though still available) claiming to be the guy that "f--king found Travis Scott ... set him up with every single media outlet, everyone in hip hop, everyone in magazine land, free studio time -- everything." Morris claimed that once Scott began buzzing, he "got one whiff of Anthony Kilhoffer, and started name dropping." Morris also said he found Scott stealing sessions he had with Nelson London (of the legendary Strokes) for a meeting with T.I..
It's strange, because Travis never mentions any of that when he talks about his past. In his side of the story is, he was homeless in New York and L.A. when he got a text from T.I. out of the blue (though he's also mentioned being connected with the A&R Sickamore in passing). The rest was history.
And none of that negates the fact that 'Days Before Rodeo' is fire. Cudi, Kanye, Migos, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan - all artists that Travis Scott sounds like throughout this entire project. Whatever Scott's role is in the studio, he curated one hell of a Southern all-star album; production from FKi, Metro Boomin, Southside, Lex Luger, and SykSense capture what might be the South's peak weird sound. Monstrous tracks like 'Mamacita' help, blending the more classical use of the leading Billy Bland sample - flipped more traditionally by Kanye and Nottz on Pusha T's 'Nosetalgia' - with the lush, layered drums radiating from Atlanta. The result is jarring; the impression, lasting.
50 wasn't immune to fabricating things or adopting styes, either. The druggy subject matter in 'High All The Time' is an extreme deviation from 50's well-documented sobriety, and his gunshot wounds gave him a slight Southern drawl in his raps.
The fact that Rad, Em and Sha Money flipped the end of the Bobby Bland track is ill enough, as it seems like the intro would make the most sense to sample. Plus, it's kind of hard to identify where the sample is on 'High All The Time' and what part it lifts from the original. After a couple listens, you hear the strings, but 50's team flattened the loop a bit, like they wanted it to sound recorded on vinyl.
Ultimately, though 'Mamacita' is one of the strongest songs on 'Days Before Rodeo,' 50 Cent's cut edges it out. Most people loop the beginning of Bland's song, but 50 and his producers handpicked the swelling strings at the end instead. It gives the song a city rush feeling, like those time-lapse of cars you see zooming under flickering city lights. The sample use on 'Mamacita' is also unique, as it's the only sample-based song on 'Days Before Rodeo' besides 'Sloppy Toppy.' But Scott's song is more of a Southern deviation on Bland's main theme, while 'High All The Time' makes a brand new sound out of a buried loop. La Flame's new music is dope, if not original, but 50 peaked on 'Get Rich Or Die Trying,' and bangers like 'High All The Time' helped define that high point.