The code of the beat.

Marquee Names: Keni Burke – “Risin’ to the Top”


How Keni Burke’s “Risin’ To The Top” Spawned Two Classics

The first time I heard “Risin’ To The Top,” I was sitting at my desk, E-Diggin’. When I heard this song I thought to myself, “Wait, I know that sound!” The guitar in the intro was ringing in my head. Then it hit me. It was from the Mary Jane Girls song “All Night Long.” But the odd thing was, it wasn’t a sample, it was an interpolation. But which song came first?

To my surprise, “Risin’ to the Top” came first and it was Rick James who interpolated. Soon found another hit that was spawned by “Risin’ to the Top.” In this new song, there was a keyboard stab that I knew I heard before. I played the keyboard over and over in my head until I had it: It was from the O.C.’s song “Born 2 Live.” Through listening to one song, I found pieces of two songs I grew up listening to. That’s the beauty of music and sampling. The ability to find a connection between three songs, classic and soulful in their own way, respectfully borrowing from one source.

The music and video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Keni Burke – “Risin’ to the Top”

Mary Jane Girls – “All Night Long”

O.C. – “Born 2 Live”

Articles, Beatmaking, BeatTips, Featured Music, Marquee Names

About Author

Amir Ali Said is Managing Editor at BeatTips. A writer, actor, and filmmaker from New York (now based in Paris), Amir is also the Co-Founder of Superchamp Books and Clock Theory. Follow him on Twitter at: @amiralisaid