Grand Theft Audio: A Brief History Of Beef Over Beats

Grand Theft Audio

Words by Preezy

The Twitterverse was recently set ablaze with news of a squabble between two of its biggest stars. Apparently, Drake and Sean “Puffy” Combs got into a war of words that led to fisticuffs during a night-out at a Miami nightclub early Monday morning. According to various media outlets, the two power-brokers were having a heated discussion involving a beat – allegedly “0-100” – that Drake had misappropriated, much to Diddy’s chagrin. As tensions rose, Diddy reportedly told Drake “You will never disrespect me…” before allegedly punching the OVO head honcho in the face.

In the midst of looking at all the funny memes and commentary poking fun at the matter, other instances of supposed beat-jacking came to mind and we felt it was only right to share a few of the most memorable occurrences of grand-theft audio in the past two decades.

1991 – Q-Tip “borrows” the beat for “The Jazz” from Pete Rock

In the early ’90s, when many a hip-hop classic was being conceived in NYC studios, there was a lot of cross-pollination of talent. One day Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest heard Pete Rock making a beat using a sample of “Green Dolphin Street” and asked if he was using it for his artist CL Smooth. “He was like, ‘You making this for CL?,’ and I said ‘I was just f*cking with it,'” Pete recalled to Wax Poetics in 2004. “But he knew what I used and took the same elements, and made it the exact same way.” The result was Tribe’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)” which appeared on their classic sophomore album, The Low End Theory. At the end of the track you can hear Tip say “Pete Rock for the beat ya don’t stop…” however, we’re not sure you can put shout outs on an invoice.

1993-1994 – Puffy Jacks Pete Rock for “Juicy” Sample

During the recording of Ready To Die, The Notorious B.I.G. and Sean “Puffy” Combs had an agreement that if Combs let Biggie record the songs he wanted with little interference, at the tail end of the process Big would then record a few choice songs at Puff’s behest. One of those songs was what would eventually come to be known as “Juicy,” the song that virtually jumpstarted the rappers career. But the success did not come without controversy.

While Puffy is widely credited as the mastermind behind “Juicy,” many heads in the know would beg to differ. According to producer Pete Rock, the beat to the timeless track is actually his brainchild and Puff all but snatched his idea to sample Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” from him with no f*cks given. Here is an excerpt from an interview Pete Rock did with grandgood.com addressing the issue:

You produced “Juicy” but never got credited for it—What’s the story behind that?

“Biggie and Sean came to my house one day and the beat was playing on my drum machine. Biggie thought I was making it for C.L. When I told him I was just making it for myself, he immediately wanted it. I said sure, but didn’t think much of it. Then, next thing I know, I heard it playing somewhere. I’m over it now though.”

Pete Rock is a better man than most. If the average man got jerked for the credit behind crafting one of the defining hip-hop records of all-time, lets just say it would be plenty of love lost.


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