Contract on the World Love Jam

Album: Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Running just 1:44, this sound collage is the first track on Fear of a Black Planet. Chuck D told Keyboard magazine how they put it together: "A lot of the samples on 'Contract' came from me taping radio stations, taking bites of interviews and commercials. Sometimes I might go through the dial, just sampling at random, keeping it on a cassette, listen to the cassette, and say, 'Well, being that I'm the lyric writer, how should I arrange these fragments so they'll add up to a kind of a song?' That's how 'Contract' came along. A lot of the time, Eric 'Vietnam' Sadler, Hank (Shocklee), Keith (Shocklee), and I will be hanging, and I might be playing records, and we'll take some bites and put them together and construct a groove. We've used the E-mu SP-12 and the Akai S900 a lot, of course. We just started using a Macintosh for certain things – tailoring samples and sequencing."
  • Explaining why this song opens the album, Chuck added: "I know that things like that can't be over a minute and a half, two minutes; they have to be short, and they have to lead violently into something that's moving and funky in the mode that rap fans would expect. That's why you hear the voice say, 'There is something changing on the face of this planet today: Public Enemy,' bam, bam, bam, samples coming up, and then bam!, right into the jam, almost like four passes and a slam dunk. If it doesn't do that, you'd lose 'em on the album."
  • The "what it is?" line comes from a Richard Pryor comedy album; the "Some foreign power, some group of terrorists" line is from the 1989 movie Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman.
  • Samples in this track include "What'cha Say" by The Meters, "Nobody Beats the Biz" by Biz Markie, "Uphill Peace of Mind" by Kid Dynamite and "Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music" by The Spinners.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Gary Lewis

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Lecrae

LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.