The making of The Prodigy’s Smack My B**** Up

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It’s one of the most used electronic tracks in spots and movie soundtracks (especially when it comes to trigger the adrenaline), as well as one of the longest-lived hits that came out in the 90s, the decade where the most-loved sounds came out, more or less in every genre. Still twenty years later, Smack My Bitch Up unleashes us like the first time, in a special way that not many other songs were able to accomplish. The Prodigy are perhaps the ones that triggered people’s love for music and adrenalin more than anyone else, and deepening the details of their compositions can only increase this love. That’s the intention of the video you find below, the making of Smack My Bitch Up in Ableton, made by a fan on YouTube and immediately gone viral: the song is rebuilt from scratch in less than ten minutes, starting from the original samples, with all the reworks that gave life to the final version. A way to go deep inside the technical soul of the piece, and above all a perfect example of how the inspiration in music is the only real game-changer, even when the practical realization is apparently reachable by everybody.

The Prodigy (along with the Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim and a handful of others) are the flagship names of the so-called Big Beat, that energy-filled wave that in the second half of that decade began to have a significant influence on the upcoming electronic music. Among the various successful singles of the band, what made The Prodigy globally explode was exactly Smack My Bitch Up, third single from The Fat of the Land, the album that hit twenty years age just recently.

The track received some criticism related to title and lyrics, and there are many people around who believe that the song actually promotes violence on women. The band defended the song, specifying that the real message was “do everything intensely”. In fact, the most accredited theory is that the title is the result of a series of slangs, where “Smack” means heroine and “Bitch” means the main vein of the arm. In this way the meaning of the title would sound like “inject me another dose.

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In order to create the sound of Smack My Bitch Up the band explored various musical genres, taking and sampling excerpts from several other songs. Among the sample beats included in the rhythm of the track we can find both Kool & the Gang and Rage Against the Machine, from which the Prodigy resumed Tom Morello’s guitar riff from Bulls on Parade. In the mid 90s, in England, drum’n’bass was one of the most popular musical expressions, and The Prodigy’s DJ Liam Howlett connected Smack My Bitch Up with a pattern taken from Ultramagnetic MC’s, an American group that shuffled drums and old-school rap who in the end brought the title and lyrics of The Prodigy’s song. A song that will be played again and again in the years, in thousands of rave and clubs, as the symbol of electronic music. A song that, after the making of above, you will love even more.

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