hip hop music

June 23, 2003

The Beatnuts Hit Toronto

This profile from Toronto has a rather annoying headline but gets a little better from there, fleshing out the sordid details of J-Lo's hijack of "Hi-Jack".

People probably think they are joking about that "polish jazz" thing, but DJ Spinna has told me several times about his pursuits of polish jazz, it seems to be a goldmine of undiscovered beatmaking material.


..."The stuff we do ain't for everybody. If you want to hear some socially conscious joints, pick up a record by Dead Prez, Common or the Roots. But if you wanna wild out with some funky beats, then you need to come to us."

The Track Masters writing/production team appears to be making a career of doing just that. Back in 97, when Will Smith's Men In Black theme needed to be funked up, they sampled the same Patrice Rushen jazzy disco tune, Forget Me Nots, that the Beatnuts flipped for their righteously raunchy Give Me Tha Ass, released just a few months before.

A coincidence? Perhaps.

But then came Jenny From The Block. The chart-topper the Track Masters produced for Jennifer Lopez was built around a catchy flute loop and beat structure strangely similar to that used by the Beatnuts for Watch Out Now. Yet the Beatnuts aren't credited as writers or arrangers on Lopez's This Is Me... Then album...

...The sample at the centre of the controversy is taken from the song Hi-Jack, originally recorded by the 70s jazz-rock group Barrabas and popularized by Herbie Mann. So some have argued that since anyone could've grabbed a copy of Herbie Mann's HiJack and chopped it, the Beatnuts have no beef.

Only the Beatnuts didn't use the Herbie Mann version or even the Barrabas take. Psycho Les and JuJu take far too much pride in uncovering obscure breaks to use something as obvious as a Herbie Mann disco joint...

"...People like Q-Tip and some others have been saying we flipped the Herbie Mann track, but that shit we used wasn't Herbie Mann's Hi-Jack; it was some other jazzy Project 3 shit. If you listen to Herbie Mann's version you can barely even hear the flute part. It ain't even close.

"We'll have our lawyers sort this out, believe me..."

Posted by jsmooth995 at June 23, 2003 12:46 PM

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