The “ubiquitous hip-hop sample of the moment” award goes to the horn loop from Johnny Pate’s “Shaft in Africa.”
The track, from the 1973 soundtrack of the same name, is prominently featured in “Show Me What You Got,” the lead single from Jay-Z’s new “Kingdom Come” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam), and “We Gon’ Make It,” the opening song from Diddy’s recently released “Press Play” (Bad Boy).
Chalk it up to a case of fluke timing for the hip-hop superstars, as the tracks have different producers and were cleared months apart from each other. “Show Me What You Got” was produced by Just Blaze and cleared in September, while K-Def is the producer on “We Gon’ Make It,” which was cleared last summer, according to a source familiar with the situation.
For Geffen Records, which controls the master rights to the Pate track, and EMI Music Publishing, which controls the publishing rights for Pate, as well as for Jay-Z and Diddy, it’s a happy coincidence. The companies get to collect on the track twice, and on two of the larger hip-hop releases of the year no less.
Diddy’s album already went to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold more than 200,000 units in its first month, according to Nielsen SoundScan. “Kingdom Come,” due tomorrow (Nov. 21), is one of the most anticipated albums of 2006, and “Show Me What You Got” rocketed 47-8 on last week’s Billboard Hot 100.
Meanwhile, “Show Me What You Got” is a source of all sorts of other deja vu as well. The song also features a sax loop of Lafayette Afro-Rock Band’s “Darkest Light” from the 1976 release “Malik” — a sample made most famous on the Wreckx-N-Effect 1992 hit “Rump Shaker.”
What’s more, Jay-Z isn’t the first artist to pair samples from “Shaft in Africa” and “Darkest Light.” Pennsylvania old-school rap outfit Tuff Crew did it on the 1989 track “Soul Food.” But while Jay-Z and Tuff Crew borrow the same sax sample from “Darkest Light,” “Soul Food” uses the drum elements from “Shaft in Africa” rather than the horns.