Even though the Notorious B.I.G. may have cemented funk group Mtume’s place in Hip Hop history by sampling its 1982 song “Juicy Fruit” for his multi-platinum smash “Juicy,” Biggie wasn’t the first emcee to recognize the track’s potential. Now, in a recent interview with Power 106’s Big Boy, Nas recalls how he almost snagged the same sample before B.I.G. got to it.
God’s Son explained that while recording his ’94 debut Illmatic, he asked his DJ/producer L.E.S. to bring a copy Mtume’s single to a recording session so that they could sample it. Unfortunately, L.E.S. had left record at his home in Queens, so Nas opted to sample the Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love” instead for a track that later became “Life’s a Bitch” with AZ.
“The record that my DJ L.E.S. was supposed to bring [to a recording session] was the ‘Juicy Fruit’ record by Mtume, and he winded up bringing ‘Yearning For Your Love’ by the Gap Band somehow, and we just used that record,” he recalled. “It’s one of the last records on the the album [Gap Band III], and that winded up being ‘Life’s a B[itch]’ with AZ. We wanted to use ‘Juicy,’ and I love ‘Life’s a B[itch],’ but when [the Notorious B.I.G.’s] ‘Juicy’ came out, it took me a while to get over that…this wasn’t the days of now where you can go online and just download the song; [L.E.S.] drove from Queens to Manhattan, and we wanted to get the song done, so we didn’t want to wait for [him to retrieve it] and the record stores were closed, so today is a different day. Back then, we had to do what we had to do.”
Check out the full interview below.