June Film Review: Sample This

Released in 2013 the documentary, “Sample This”, shines a light on the Incredible Bongo Band and the impact of their record, Apache. If you fancy yourself a Hip Hop dee jay than you have spun Apache at a party somewhere. Beginning in the early 70s you would never think that the members of this band have played roles in some of the most captivating moments in this country’s history. From the Kennedy assassination to the Summer of Sam these men have been there through it all. The film only runs for about a hour and a half and by the time Apache is even mentioned you’ve already invested in the members of the band and their background. Watching the band go through ups and downs will make you thankful that they stayed together long enough to record Apache. Narrated by the likes of ?uestlove, Grandmaster Caz, DJ Kool Herc, and members of the Incredible Bongo band provide us with an honest yet enthusiastic and genuine.

This film would do well in music classes of all ages as there is no profane language or sexually provocative scenes. This film would do well in music classes of all ages as there is no profane language or sexually provocative scenes. This documentary focuses on how the universe conspired to bring together these musicians to create the single most important song in Hip Hop Culture outside of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”. Being that technology was not as advanced as it is today not knowing whether the percussion on Apache is drums or bongos is mindboggling. The culmination of great recordings such as Apache are always effortless and done by chance because of the vibe the musicians shared being in the studio with one another.

The only gripes I have about this film is immediately seeing Gene Simmons as the narrator after everything he has said about Hip Hop Culture and Rap music but you have to remember that the film is about the band and the song not the culture. Afrika Bambaataa in the opening credits also made me feel a level of disappointment. Outside of those two instances the movie was great. The history of Bambaataa did not come out until sometime after the movie so there’s no way the filmmakers or anyone else who was involved to have known this. This film is currently on Netflix but is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes as well. The film brings the band back together at the end for one last jam session with all of the original musicians that were members of the band early on and towards the end. Apache has been sampled by artists outside of Hip Hop and Rap music and it is still being used to this day. I don’t know of any producers  present day that could create a sound quite like it.

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