Willie Hutch’s soundtrack to the 1973 blaxploitation film The Mack is the sampler’s gift that keeps on giving. Everyone from Snoop, Mobb Deep, and Raekwon to Ludacris, Too $hort, and UGK (with Andre 3K) have feasted on its source material, dropping bars over Hutch’s soulful original grooves.
Perhaps no song on the soundtrack has enjoyed a higher profile than “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out”. If you don’t know the original, you definitely know the sample: a slinky slow guitar phrase and jazzy flute that seem tailor-made for pairing with a drum loop and rhymes.
Like the Amen break or “Funky Drummer”, it’s just one of those bedrock samples that keeps resurfacing just about every year—reworked and re-purposed, chopped and screwed, slowed down and sped up. And while damn near everyone has borrowed from the Hutch original, here are The Couch Session’s five picks for best use of this hallowed hook.
#5: Ro James – “Permission” – You remember this one: it was probably on a 2015 playlist of yours called Booty Jams. James’ fluttery falsetto and the minimalist guitar riff weave a hypnotic haze. Your girl is under his power, but at least he’s asking permission.
#4: Wale – “Freedom of Speech” – Wale flips the script on the customary “Brother” sample: Rather than the intro, he grabs the funky, string-laden rave up in the track’s second half and flows mightily over it.
#3: 2Pac – “Secretz Of War” – Who knew that the “Brothers” chord progression would go oh-so-smooth alongside that classic 1996 G-funk era synth glide? Unsurprisingly, ‘Pac’s rhymes on this rare cut are just the cherry on top.
#2: A$AP Rocky – “Put That On My Set” – Minor-key synths roll up on that familiar guitar loop, granting it a newly foreboding quality. Fittingly, daydreams turn to nightmares in the noir-ish video for this A$AP Mob street tale, which features the darkest use of the “Brother” sample to date.
#1: Chance The Rapper – “Lost” – Chance raps about a girlfriend who doubles as his drug buddy (“You been scratchin’, you been fiendin’/I’mma fix you, I’mma fuck you”). Noname plays her part to a T on her verse, and steals the show with a devastating Jungle Fever reference. The result is one of the finest tracks on Acid Rap.