The scene: I’m in my basement with a cassette recording I dubbed off the “Big Nine at 9pm” on Jammin 92.3FM. It’s 1997, and I’m trying to play the ▶intro to Hanson’s “MMMbop.”
I give up, embarrassed that I can’t keep up with a drummer my age (10) and who, furthermore, looks like a girl.
There were two truths that I was unaware of at the time: a) the intro was a Bernard Purdie sample and b) I also looked like a girl.
“MMMbop” was produced by the Dust Borthers — hip-hop producers at heart. The Dust Brothers were familiar with classic drum breaks like Melvin Bliss’ “Synthetic Substitution” and threw it in during the intro before Abe Laboriel Jr. layered huge drums over the rest of the track.
The original “Synthetic Substitution” was a quickly cut B-side that doesn’t make much sense. Purdie’s fast-footed drum intro has kept the track relevant as one of the most sampled beats.
He swings his foot a little after the first phrase.