Change the Beat

Change the Beat

"Change the Beat" is a song written and recorded by Fab Five Freddy. It was recorded at OAO Studio in Brooklyn, NY and released as a 12" single on the Celluloid label in 1982. This release and all subsequent pressings of the single feature two versions of the song, one on Side A and one on Side B. The official length of the tracks varies depending on the specific pressing of the single, with some releases mislabeling the running times entirely. The Side A version is 7:40 minutes in length and features Fab Five Freddy rapping in both English and French. He also performs the chorus of the song, utilizing a vocoder with a white noise carrier to achieve a gritty, robotic effect. The version of the song that appears on Side B is considerably shorter than the A-Side track, clocking in at 3:42. Lead vocals are performed by female French rapper Beside and rapped entirely in her native language, making this single one of the first multilingual hip-hop releases. Beside was credited as "Fab 5 Betty" on the earliest pressings of the vinyl.[1]

On the B-Side track, Freddy not only performs the same vocoder chorus, but he also continues to speak once the beat stops, uttering one of the most widely-used samples in hip-hop history when he says "Ahhhhh, this stuff is really fresh". This particular sample has been scratched in countless hip-hop records, the earliest of which was the 1983 Herbie Hancock single Rockit, which featured scratching of the sample by pioneering DJ and turntablist GrandMixer D.ST.[2]


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