Music

Rap Songs That Sample Shuggie Otis

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Cult funkateer Shuggie Otis plays the Highline tonight. Despite his talent as a multi-instrumentalist and savvy singer-songwriter, Otis’s career never quite went mainstream back in the ’70s, but his legacy has been well served thanks to a judiciously reissued back catalogue and a series of rap types jacking into his vault for sample thrills. Here’s five of the most inspired grabs from super Shuggie.

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J Dilla, “Intro”/”Outro”

Samples: “Not Available”
A snatch of Shuggie’s sweet and slick guitar playing from “Not Available” book-ends J Dilla’s Donuts project. To get hip to the hook-up, zip along to around the one-minute mark of the “Intro” where the Detroit knob-twizzler suddenly punches in the track.

The Fat Boys, “All Day Lover”

Samples: “Strawberry Letter 23”
“Strawberry Letter 23” is Shuggie’s signature song — and the track that would be re-recorded by The Brothers Johnson to greater commercial success. (That version, in turn, has also been more widely sampled, including an appearance on Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson.”) Here hip-hop’s most loved rotund rap crew nab the song’s distinctive riff to underscore their amorous rhymes.

Infamous Mobb, “B.I.G. T.W.I.N.S.”

Samples: “Oxford Gray”
The Alchemist is behind the boards here as he laces Queensbridge’s second most renowned Mobb with a grit-studded boom-bapper to drop their gruff home-town brags over. It’s a production that borrows smartly from Shuggie’s “Oxford Gray,” which blooms with an equally rugged funk appeal. Digable Planets, “For Corners”

Samples: “Island Letter”
The opening groove to Shuggie’s “Island Letter” is used by Ladybug Mecca and pals to infuse this Blowout Comb album cut with a lazy lilt. It’s a smooth combination.

Kanye West feat. Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Pusha T and the underwhelming Cyhi Da Prince, “Christmas In Harlem”

Samples: “Strawberry Letter 23”
A Chrimbo cash-in that shoe-horns the Dipset and G.O.O.D. Music disciples over a beat by Hit-Boy, “Christmas In Harlem” ends with hook singer Teyana Taylor warbling festively over the same melody as Shuggie’s “Strawberry Letter 23.” Chalk this one up to the effects of dairy-based holiday drinks.

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