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“Hold Up”: How Ezra Koenig Used a Yeah Yeah Yeah Sample

Karen-O-and-Ezra-Koenig-2014-billboard-650

By Chris Payne, reposted from Billboard (here)

If you listened to Beyoncé’s Lemonade and you’re a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan, you probably noticed some similarities to their signature song “Maps” in Bey’s new song “Hold Up.” The parallel is no accident and since Bey came to bat (get it? get it?) with thorough songwriting credits, the New York band popped up in the liner notes.

So how did the YYYs (credited as Brian Chase, Karen Orzolek and Nick Zinner) find their way in there? The conduit was Vampire Weekend frontman/Twitter renaissance man Ezra Koenig, who explained the whole thing following Lemonade’s release.

Apparently, Koenig was riffing on the “Maps” line “Wait, they don’t love you like I love you” back in 2011, and replaced the word “wait” with “hold up.” A few years later, he though of the old tweet while in the studio with Diplo. The melody inspired a whole new hook: “There’s no other God above you / what a wicked way to treat a man who loves you.” If you’re well-versed in Koenig’s musings on faith and devotion from 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City, you know what a prototypical Vampire Weekend lyric this is. But priorities change. Koenig decided to send it along to Beyoncé and noted she made it “100% her own.”

Vampire Weekend has promised a new album is on the way. Could Diplo pop up in the credits for that one, too? Vampire Weekend was extremely self-sufficient on its earlier recordings, but since using an outside producer (Ariel Rechtshaid) for the first time on Modern Vampires, Ezra and company appear to be much more open to working with outside collaborators. They’ve even hinted that former member Rostam Batmanglij (formerly their primary producer) could contribute to the new record.

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