Contract on the World Love Jam

Album: Fear of a Black Planet (1990)

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.

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