We never receive what we pursue with fervor until we acquiesce…I have been reminded of this by way of searching desperately for a sample to one of my favorite songs.
Ever since his cameo appearance on Trinidad Jame$’ “Southside,” I have been a fan of Atlanta indie artist, Fortebowie. He is one of the most creative rapper/singer/producers I’ve heard in a very long time. In his music, Fortebowie flips fairly obscure samples. Half of the fun in listening to his music is trying to find the original song he lifted to create a brand new song.
Sampling is an art form. It’s a form of audio manipulation that takes a a creative ear to perfect. In almost forty years of audio production, engineering, and knowledge of musical theory, my father couldn’t sample as well as I can on his best day. Because of this, I appreciate someone who can do this beyond well.
On his 2015 project, Something Else About Bowie, there is a song called “Wrong Girl.” In the first verse, I listened as Bowie apologize to all of the hearts he’d broken. Attempting to justify himself, the last four bars made me pause:
“Only love one muh’f*cka and she won’t let me rest. Runnin’ round in my mind, doing laps. What the f*ck?! Tryna act like she irrelevant; but I don’t give a f*ck. But my mama know, and my daddy know, and my n*ggas know who run my world. And until she comes back…I’m f*ckin’ with the wrong girl.”
Those lines summed up exactly how I was feeling during the summer of ’15. After things ended with my ex, I began dating my “What If” girl. Shortly into our courtship, I knew it wasn’t going to work out. It would have never worked out between us; however I may have been a little more patient. I wasn’t over someone I was very much in love with. As a means of proceeding through life with no unanswered questions, this period was something that needed to happen.
While thinking about how I related to Fortebowie, I began trying to figure out what was the sample in this song. After doing some searching, I put into the Twitter universe that I was looking for the sample in “Wrong Girl.” Fortebowie replied saying that he’s keeping that a secret and the fans just have to find it.
I scrubbed out Fortebowie’s vocals on my computer. I tried to speed up the sample to see if I recognized the voice. I Googled the lyrics. I downloaded Karaoke apps to scrub out the middle frequencies of the track and then play into Shazaam to see if it would recognize the sample. No matter what, Shazaam kept telling me that the song sampled was “Wrong Girl” by Fortebowie. I would leave it alone for a little while and every few months, I would try again to see if someone on the internet had found the answer.
What often prompted me to try once again to look for the sample was another person on Twitter asking me if I had found the sample. The searches got shorter and shorter. Knowing that one day, probably the day I truly said “fuck it,” the answer would find me.
On Monday morning, something prompted me to look for this sample one last time. Well, the honest answer of what inspired me to look was that once again, those four bars-and other parts of-the first verse were ringing true in my life. Nonetheless, I looked for all of five minutes. The first result that popped up in Google’s search engine was Fortebowie’s Soundcloud page, where he originally posted “Wrong Girl.” I decided not to look there because I had repeatedly and no one had yet to find the answer.
The next morning, I saw a Twitter notification in which someone asked me had I found the sample to “Wrong Girl.” I replied that I still hadn’t. Immediately, the person said “Wrong Girl by Latrelle.”
The lightbulb went off in my head. I knew exactly who Latrelle was. Because the sample was slowed down, it sounded like a man singing; but it was a woman. Latrelle was a singer that was signed to Arista Records in 2001-2002. She had two singles, “Dirty Girl” and “House Party;” both produced by the Neptunes when their music was ubiquitous. I loved “House Party” and was looking forward to her album being released. However, it was shelved indefinitely. “Wrong Girl” was the second-to-last song on her unreleased album that of course, was on YouTube.
Repeatedly listening to what I coveted for over a year, I decided to Google “Latrelle, Wrong Girl, and Fortebowie.” The first thing that popped up in Google’s search engine was Fortebowie’s Soundcloud page. THE ANSWER TO MY QUESTION WAS THEE ONE PLACE I HAD BEEN IGNORING BECAUSE I HAD LOOKED THERE REPEATEDLY AND COULDN’T FIND IT. SOMEONE FOUND IT A MONTH AGO!
By nature, I’m both assertive and proactive. It is beyond difficult for me to stop looking for the things that I am “looking for.” I feel as if I can find the answers quicker than the universe can reveal them. I guess this is my way of manifesting “faith without works is dead.” In the bible, Jacob was dealing with a lot. One night, we literally wrestled with God until God blessed him. Jacob had to literally be subdued in his hip. Most people don’t exhaust their resources until divine intervention steps in. I try to live my life doing just that.