Sample Saturday: Death & Taxes by Daniel Caesar


Liam MacRae


Daniel Caesar is a Canadian Soul/R&B singer and songwriter. He is known for his slow ballad “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis. Before releasing his debut studio album Freudian last month, Caesar released Pilgrim’s Paradise – a seven-song EP featuring my favorite track “Death & Taxes”. No matter what we go through in life we can’t avoid death and taxes. Daniel’s music has heavy religious context due to growing up Seventh Day Adventist. Within the song, Caesar accepts his sins and questions his faith. He’s not sure of what’s real but he’s sure that he will have to pay taxes until he dies. Bummer.

Ever heard the high-pitched “Yes” in the background of your favorite songs? Producers Matthew Burnett and Jordan Evans used a faint sample throughout the track. The sample comes from Reverend W.A. Donaldson’s 1959 Baptizing Scene. It is a cut from the compilation “Southern Folk Heritage Series: Sounds Of The South”, compiled and recorded by Alan Lomax, a Texan ethnomusicologist. The compilation caught every facet of life and music in the South that was never heard before in the 1950s. An actual baptizing was recorded at an Alabama baptizing pool. The sample has also been used by artists like Jay-Z, Bryson Tiller, Travis $cott, and Lil Wayne. The sampled screams and sounds of people catching the holy spirit are ironic. While Daniel questions his faith in his song, people celebrate theirs in the background.

aafleur recommendation: Listen to the sample first



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