Phil Manzanera Explains How Jay-Z and Kanye West Sampled Him
Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera has tackled such genres as progressive rock, jazz fusion and Latin music in his solo work. In 2011 he inadvertently found himself at the center of the hip-hop world when one of his riffs found its way into "No Church in the Wild," a track from the Kanye West and Jay-Z collaboration album Watch the Throne.
"K-Scope" was an obscure instrumental from Manzanera's 1978 solo album of the same name until the hip-hop stars sampled it. As Manzanera tells UCR, he received a surprising phone call from someone at Roc-A-Fella Records while he was in the car with his son.
"Just going to tell you that Jay-Z and Kanye West are doing a new album, and they’ve sampled your guitar from 'K-Scope' and it's coming out next week," he was told. "I said, ‘Nah, you've made a mistake.' 'No, I'll tell you what. We'll play it to you over the phone. We can't send it to you because it's top secret.'”
It turned out that the co-producer of “No Church in the Wild,” New York rapper 88-Keys, discovered the K-Scope album in a bargain bin. He played 10 selections for Jay-Z and West, and they chose “K-Scope” for “No Church in the Wild.” The track eventually won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and appeared on the deluxe edition of the soundtrack to the 2013 movie The Great Gatsby.
In turn, Manzanera covered “No Church in the Wild” on his 2015 album The Sound of Blue. He also met with the producer when he was in New York touring with David Gilmour.
“I invited 88-Keys to the David Gilmour concert at Radio City Music Hall on the Rattle That Lock tour,” Manzanera recalls. “He's a lovely, sweet guy, but he'd never heard any Pink Floyd songs. He tweeted, 'I'm going to the Phil Manzanera concert at Radio City.' I gave him a big hug and said, 'You’re a genius. Thank you.'
"The strangest things happen in life. That's why I always say: Keep doing what you're doing, and karma will come back to you. It really gave me faith in being a musician for your whole life and just being chill and meeting people and being nice.”
Listen to Phil Manzaera's 'K-Scope'
Listen to Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'No Church in the Wild'