Alessia Cara, Portishead, Isaac Hayes, and why I hate FM radio


2007 was an awkward year for automobile technology. On one hand, car technology had evolved to the point where Bluetooth was becoming pretty ubiquitous and you could connect your phone to your car to make/receive calls. On the other hand, that was about all you could do with bluetooth. The concept of being able to use the technology to stream media from your phone to the audio system of your car was still a couple years away at best. Unless your car had an AUX port or you wanted to rely on those shitty AM/FM transmitters, you were basically stuck listening to CDs or the radio. If you’re anything like me, you haven’t purchased a CD since 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (21 questions is my JAM) and your current computer can’t/won’t burn a goddamn CD. I know this is a first-world problem. Shut up.

I’m currently driving a car from 2007. It’s a sweet ride and there’s a lot to like (I digress), but what I don’t like is being forced to listen to FM radio. FM radio was cool when you were 12 and getting tickets to Z100’s Jingle Ball was a thing. Now it’s pretty much only good for ironically listening to Spanish music stations (shout out to Amor 93.1)

Have you heard Alessia Cara’s new single Here? I have, because they play it a whole fuckton on FM radio. Maybe you’ve heard it. Maybe you even like it. I do, it’s a good song, but it’s good primarily because the entire melody is a sample of Isaac Hayes’ song Ike’s Rap II. Take a listen.

I’m aware of the fact that pretty much all mainstream music today is derivative in some form or another of stuff that came before it. There are producers out there who have made a name for themselves entirely by sampling music from decades past (see: Kanye West). The thing is, I’m not mad about it. Sometimes paying homage to a GOAT like Isaac Hayes while also flexing your vocal abilities is the perfect way to launch your career and enter the spotlight. Cara’s song is different enough that it feels exciting and original, unlike that canal street Birkin bag you bought from a shady Ethiopian for $100 (you’re not fooling anyone, Becky)

But that’s not even the best part. There’s another artist out there who has sampled Mr. Hayes work and I think it’s even better than Cara’s take.

Portishead’s Glory Box, off their first album, Dummy, is a first ballot trip hop hall of famer. This song oozes sex. It’s the leadoff batter on my James Bond playlist (I’m done with the sports analogies, I promise). Go give the album a listen and tell me what you think.




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