Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” has been sampled a number of times in its 50-plus years of existence, but Kanye West took the 1966 track to a whole new level with Watch the Throne‘s lead single “Otis.” Now, in a recent interview XXL, fellow Chi-Town beatsmith No. I.D. revealed that the Grammy-nominated track actually came about after he challenged Yeezy to flip a sample on the spot.
According to the veteran producer, the challenge came out of his initial dissatisfaction with his protege’s collaborative LP with Jay-Z due the numerous co-production credits. So No I.D. decided to put ‘Ye on the spot and tell him to produce one song by himself, thus resulting in the creation of “Otis.”
“I kinda didn’t agree with the direction that Watch the Throne was going because I felt like, ‘Y’all were two of the best that did it as far advancing, pushing the bar, the envelope of what Hip Hop can do and is,’” No I.D. explained. “And I felt like some of the songs were copping out a little to me. I get the co-productions, but how you gon’ do an album and you don’t go to the machine and do one beat by yourself? We have always sparked this challenge in each other and it bled into the world, so I just wanted to hit him in the stomach real quick. This is what you got? He was like, ‘No, that’s cool. I’m ’bout to do something.’”
He added, “I remember even at the time at the label they was like, ‘What the hell? No I.D. just came in and messed up our release schedule.’ We all amongst ourselves really are battling each other each and every minute of life, but it’s all in the spirit of advancement and the pursuit of dopeness is what I call it.”