Sample: Tom Scott and The California Dreamers' "Today" (1967)
A tribute to fallen homie Troy “Trouble T” Dixon of Heavy D & the Boyz, “T.R.O.Y.” is one of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s most beloved songs. Pete expressed his displeasure with Simonsayz and B-Side’s remake of his classic, but it’s not like there was any danger of the mediocre track surpassing the original’s place in history anyway.
Winner: Pete Rock
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Sample: Grover Washington, Jr's “Hydra” (1975)
Dom’s 2011 project The Original Dom Kennedy had a standout track in the hypnotically smooth “Playa’s Punch.” Sadly for the producer, Dom never posted a production credit for the song, but it’s probably for the better. Now we don’t have to tell whoever did produce the track, “Nice try, but there’s no touching Black Moon’s classic.”
Winner: DJ Evil Dee and Mr. Walt
Sample: Cortex's "Huit Octobre" (1971)
Sledgren laced Wiz’s breakout tape, Kush & Orange Juice with “Visions,” a hypnotic banger that underground heads recognized had the same sample as MF DOOM’s “One Beer.” Young Wiz and Sledgren certainly did their thing, but “Visions” was just a solid cut on a great mixtape while “One Beer” has stood the test of time as one of DOOM’s most revered songs.
Sample: Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft In Africa” (1973)
Jay’s lead single for Kingdom Come was met with mixed reviews, partly because it was being compared to the countless songs before that had used the same saxophone loop already. While Just definitely put his own spin on the sample, not even the Flavor Flav sound bite on the hook (a reference to Public Enemy’s 1988 “Show ‘Em Watcha Got” which also used the sax riff) could overtake Wreckx-n-Effect's timeless ode to booty shaking.
Winner: Teddy Riley
Sample: Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (Performed by Incredible Bongo Band) (1968)
The fact that the Black Eyed Peas’ producer flipped the same sample as underground legend Salaam Remi for the same rapper (in the same decade) is so ironic it hurts. But while Salaam did make a street classic for Nasty Nasir with “Thief’s Theme,” Will’s sped-up version of the same sample became the theme music for Nas’ Hip-Hop is Dead movement and proved that the pop success hadn’t turned all of Will’s soul into bubblegum.
Sample: The O’Jays’ “Cry Together” (1978)
Nas and AZ bodied DR Period’s ominous loop in 1995 for AZ’s debut Doe or Die. By the time Cam and Jimmy swept the dust off of the classic track for their 2003 ode to realness, there wasn’t much hope of outdoing the legend. As much as XXL loved Cam’s dinner table exchange with his mom, a great track can’t outshadow a classic. Not that DR cares, it’s a win/win for him anyway.
Winner: DR Period
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Sample: Lenny Williams' "'Cause I Love You" (1975)Mobb Deep's "Nothing Like Home" isn't the first track that comes to mind in regards to the Infamous duo. However, when Kanye flipped the same Lenny Williams sample for Twista's smash hit, "Overnight Celebrity" single, it became clear, which of the two producers had the better hand.
Winner: Kanye West
Sample: Club Nouveau's "Why You Treat Me So Bad" (1987)
Luniz made a stoner classic with “I Got 5 On It” before the self-proclaimed inventor of the remix decided to try his hand at the same tune for his collaboration with R. Kelly. Puff and Kells’ star power kept “Satisfy You” at No. 1 on the Billboard's R&B charts for two weeks, but even hip-hop heads who don’t smoke trees get elevated when they hear the famous melody of "I Got 5."
Winner: Tone Capone
Sample: Kool & the Gang's "Soul Vibrations" (1973)
Just Bleezy laced Joey with his first single via this Jay-Z throwaway, which turned into a breakout hit for the Jersey MC. While “Pump It Up” remains Joey’s biggest mainstream hit to date, there’s no arguing against Tribe’s certified classic.
Winner: A Tribe Called Quest
Sample:B.T. Express's "Everything Good to You (Ain't Always Good for You)" (1974)
Despite both using B.T. Express's "Everything Good to You (Ain't Always Good for You)" sample, Diddy and the Hitmen laced Ma$e with a heater on his 1997 debut, Harlem World. However, when Dame Grease flipped the track for DMX's gritty "Get At Me Dog" single, the former was easily forgettable.
Winner: Dame Grease