Music education always & always looking forward.

Sprinkling in Some Sugar Plum: Classical Samples in Mike Jones's "Got It Sewed Up"

I have precious little frame of reference for the artist Mike Jones, except that my brother listened to him a lot as a teenager in the early-mid 2000s.  This song might be an interesting example to connect hip-hop to Tchaikovsky to rap, but I would not suggest playing the entire song for your students.

"Got It Sewed Up" - Mike Jones

Intro: Houston rapper Mike Jones released his debut album, Who Is Mike Jones? in 2004, led by the single “Back Then”, which reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Jones has released two other albums since then and an EP from an autobiographical film that he produced. “Got It Sewed Up” appears on Who Is Mike Jones?

Analysis: This song uses a repeating sample from the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. In the rapped verses, the most prominent features of the dance movement include the run in the low woodwinds and strings. In the chorus, which is also rapped, the primary melody played on the celesta in Tchaikovsky's original composition is played by a simulated celesta sound on Jones's tune. 

Considerations for Teaching: This song contains some questionable lyrics as well as minor reference to drugs and alcohol. It also brings up the question of whether or not the producers of this song used “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, one of Tchaikovsky’s best known works, as the most prominent sample in this song.

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