Before The Notorious B.I.G. came out with his breakout single “Juicy,” Nas had actually wanted to use the original sample of Mtume’s 1983 song, “Juicy Fruit,” for “Life’s a Bitch.”
While working on Illmatic, Nas had asked fellow Queensbridge producer, L.E.S., to bring the well-known R&B record with him to the studio so they could sample it. Unfortunately L.E.S. forgot the record at home so they opted to sample “Yearning for Your Love” by The Gap Band and “Black Frost” by Grover Washington, Jr. for “Life’s a Bitch” instead.
The song also features Nas’ father Olu Dara playing his cornet on the outro as well as a legendary feature from AZ, who had never recorded a rap verse in his life before.
A few months later Biggie would get his hands on a track with the same sample produced by Poke of Trackmasters, who was known for his keen commercial touch. With Puff Daddy steering his musical sense, Biggie dropped heartfelt, autobiographical rhymes over the catchy beat and released “Juicy” as the debut single off Ready to Die.
Backed by it’s b-side, the rugged Premo-laced “Unbelievable,” “Juicy” propelled Biggie into New York’s rap elite; topping the Hot Rap Singles chart and peaking at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The record that my DJ L.E.S. was supposed to bring [to a recording session] was the ‘Juicy Fruit’ record by Mtume, and he winded up bringing ‘Yearning For Your Love’ by the Gap Band somehow, and we just used that record. It’s one of the last records on the the album [Gap Band III], and that winded up being ‘Life’s a B[itch]’ with AZ. We wanted to use ‘Juicy,’ and I love ‘Life’s a B[itch],’ but when [the Notorious B.I.G.’s] ‘Juicy’ came out, it took me a while to get over that. This wasn’t the days of now where you can go online and just download the song; [L.E.S.] drove from Queens to Manhattan, and we wanted to get the song done, so we didn’t want to wait for [him to retrieve it] and the record stores were closed, so today is a different day. Back then, we had to do what we had to do.Nas Recalls Wanting To Sample Song From Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” | HipHopDX