Reading the original 12" label turns out to be both enlightening and additionally confusing. "A Wild Pitch reconstruction of a Logic reconstruction of a Wild Pitch production by DJ Mark, The 45 King," it says. One one pressing. On another pressing it says, "A Wild Pitch reconstruction mixed by Nephie Centeno Original production by DJ Mark, The 45 King," So that's what that song is. But what the Hell did that actually mean?
Okay, let's go back a year. "The Power" was released in 1990, but we want to start with Chill's last single from 1989, "The Court Is Now In Session," specifically the B-side, "Let the Words Flow." If you've got it in your crates (or if you just have Chill's '89 album, Ride the Rhythm - it's on there, too), give it a listen. I'll wait. Okay, got those lyrics in your head? Now listen to "The Power." Oh yeah! "The Power" is just a glorified remix; it's the same vocal track.
"Let the Words Flow," was produced, like everything Chill Rob G had put out by that time, by DJ Mark the 45 King. That's the "Wild Pitch production by DJ Mark" they're referring to on the label. Neither Mark nor Chill had anything to do with the creation of "The Power" besides recording their original song, "Let the Words Flow." Turning that underrated track into "The Power" was all Power Jam, who just used the Acappella off that 1989 12".
Now, Power Jam's not exactly a "real" group. There are no other Power Jam records out there. I assume the name is just a reference to the title of the song they created. So let's go back to the messages on the label, starting with the first pressing. Wild Pitch is obviously the Chill's label who put this record out, but who or what is Logic?
Logic was an underground German label that specialized in dance music. There, two DJs/producers named Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti created their new track. They used some elements of the original instrumental, like the wailing sax riff that opens up "Let the Words Flow" (it's actually not a sample, but played by Jack Bashkow, who winds up getting credit on both the "Court" and "Power" 12" labels), and the recurring refrain where Rob's vocals stutter, "it's getting, it's getting, it's getting kinda hectic" is just a line from the original acappella being played with. The rest of the instrumental, though still largely sample based, sounds nothing like The 45 King's work. And since the original Chill Rob G song only had two verses and an extended instrumental break-down for the final third, so to make it a more traditional 3-verse song, Michael and Luca just repeat Chill's first verse a second time to be the thirds verse.
And the hook is sung by Kim Davis. ...At least, on my 12" it is. Yeah; now it's going to get even more complicated. See, the hook everybody associates with this song is actually a sample from Jocelyn Brown's "Love's Gonna Get You." If you watch the video, you hear Jocelyn's sample. But not on this record; it's another singer, whose voice... frankly isn't nearly as arresting. Sorry, Kim. It's the same basic line being sung, but it's not the sample. The difference is pretty obvious to me, but if you're not sure, stick around 'till the ending, where she starts changing the line to "you've got the power" and even, "you and me and Chill Rob G." That's obviously not sampled from Jocelyn Brown. It's also not Penny Ford. Who's that? Well, stick with me.
In an interview with Unkut, Chill Rob talks about how Wild Pitch came to put this out, "I think Stu Fine [head of Wild Pitch] probably had a deal under the table with Arista records out in Germany, and he actually licensed the record to them – but they didn’t have a deal for the US. So since the record was doing so big out there, Stu came to me as if he had no idea what was going on and he said 'Yo Rob, let’s put the song out. I mean it’s doing really well in Germany, we might as well make some money out this.' I mean it was me, it was my stuff, so I said 'Cool, let’s do it.'" I believe it was at this point that Wild Pitch commissioned the second version, which replaced the sampled hook with Kim Davis.
So to be clear, since nobody who writes about the dueling versions of "The Power" ever seem to acknowledge it - there are two versions of Chill Rob G's "The Power," not even including Snap!'s.
Wild Pitch put out both of Chill's versions on separate 12"s in 1990, and also included the song as a cassette and CD bonus track on Chill's album (it's not on the original LP). And like the second 12" pressing, the liner notes of the tape and CD credit production to this Nephie Centeno guy. I don't know too much about him; but he's a hip-hop writer and producer who also did the remix of Chill's "Make It" on his next single. So, I believe he's the guy who actually went in and replaced the Brown sample with Kim Davis for the second Chill Rob G version.
Because then, of course, you've got the whole remake version to talk about. The original German producers, Power Jam if you will, hooked up with Arista Records to put this single out as well. As you could probably imagine, now the song was caught up in an intricate web of uncleared samples, and different artists and labels claiming the rights to it. So Michael and Luca formed Snap!, under the aliases Benito Benites and John Virgo Garrett III. They didn't have Kim Davis in their camp, so they got a new singer, Penny Ford, to sing on their version.
They also got a new rapper. See, for Snap! to release this without Wild Pitch, they not only couldn't use Kim Davis, they couldn't use Chill Rob G, whose acappella started the whole thing. So they got this new guy, Turbo B, to record all new rap vocals. I mean, in a way, I actually kinda like his vocals. Certainly the way he keeps ending his verse with "or I will attack, and you don't want that" is charming in a very camp way. And even the rest of his rhymes aren't actually bad. But despite the fact that he's got a similarly deep voice, he's no Chill Rob G (
But Chill's version of the "The Power" gets the short end of that deal, too; since really discerning heads don't truck with any version of "The Power," favoring instead 45 King's not-remotely-euro-dance-themed production, "Let the Words Flow." I'd probably have to go with that, too; but "The Power" is still a dope alternative. and worth having as well. And for my money, the version to own is the original Wild Pitch single with both Chill's vocals and the Jocelyn sample.
Time to get technical. As I've said, Wild Pitch put out two 12" versions of this in 1990, with the two differently convoluted production credit explanations. The first one has three tracks: Vocal, Instrumental and Acappella versions. That's the one that credits Logic. The second one[pictured], which credits Nephie, has four tracks: Vocal, Radio Edit, Instrumental and Acappella. The Logic one uses the sample; and the Nephie one uses Kim Davis. There's also a 2006 repress (you know, Wild Pitch's "When MCs Had Skills" series), and that's a repress of the original with just three tracks and the sampled hook. And the bonus track version on the Ride the Rhythm CDs and tapes is the Kim Davis version. So now you know. And Knowledge is power. Derp.
It's good to be back!