EvilGiane’s Sample Renaissance
By Theo Meranze
When I first heard Flight Facilities internet classic Crave You I was (allegedly) a twelve-year-old gamer, and it was (allegedly) in a Call of Duty montage I made. That period of my life is thankfully over, but the fragmented remnants of it come to me in mostly embarrassing flashes of nostalgia—- an accidental foray into an old YouTube account, a random 7 eleven playlist, and perhaps most surprisingly, a few years ago, a mesmerizing flip orchestrated by producer and “sample drill” pioneer Evilgiane. While my first impression of the track was mainly rooted in the shock and awe of my nostalgia, I quickly fell in love with the song in its own right.
As I began to explore Giane’s discography, I found myself shocked by the cleverness of his ear. He understands how to abuse a catchy loop like the best boom-bap purists, but has developed his own style scaffolded by drill rhythms, unique samples, and gen-z rap aesthetics.
My favorite Giane beats are surprising in nature. They’re well made and don't take themselves too seriously, supported by recognizable samples that don’t feel played out. This ability to flip an eye-catching sample while maintaining its inner quality is from my perspective Giane’s greatest strength. He’s also not afraid to venture into realms of music typically strayed away from by hip-hop beat makers, crafting beats from Punk, Folk, and Pop, songs as well as more traditionally sampled R&B and soul tracks.
Polo Perks 2021 record Punk Goes Drill, an album best explained by its title, is filled with such Giane beats. Who Killed Kenny, for example, turns the recognizable lick from MakeDamnSure’s Taking Back Sunday into an anthemic drill texture. It was inventive and simple tracks like this that have made me fall in love with Giane’s style, a style that Giane stated in an interview with Complex sees itself as a nod toward the historically sample-heavy production of East Coast hip hop mixed with Jersey Club.
While I admittedly lost track of Giane’s whereabouts over the last year, I was pleasantly surprised to be seeing his name everywhere over the last couple of months. Giane has recently had a slew of big-name industry collaborations with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, Pink-Pantheress, and perhaps most impressively, Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar. Giane crafted the beat for the duo's viral hit The Hillbillies, where he flipped the Bon Iver track “PDLIF”, ironically originally containing a sample flip of its own.
Watching Giane be welcomed by some of rap’s artistic vanguard has been exciting and signals a much-needed shift in regards to the genre’s understanding of what it means to sample. While experimental beat-makers like Knxwledge, Mndsgn, and Flying Lotus have for years been pushing the boundaries of the sample in the 21st century, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen an entirely new, pop-oriented sub-genre of hip-hop choose the sample as one of its premier tools of shock & awe.