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Watch: Salute the Sample "Yosemite Sam Blunts"

By Kiani Shabazz

This week, LL COOL J, Greg Nice, and Z-Trip are back with another episode of their Rock the Bell’s exclusive series, Salute the Sample, where the trio breakdown some of Hip-Hop’s most beloved samples while giving the backstory to the track itself. 

In this week’s episode, Greg Nice takes a trip down memory lane as he gives some background to his 1994 Nice & Smooth single, “Old to the New,” from the duo’s third studio album, Jewel of the Nile.  The track samples Three Dog Night’s “Easy To Be Hard,” originally written and recorded for the iconic Broadway musical Hair

Greg Nice explains that Nice & Smooth were looking to make their next big hit after the success of their 1991 smash, “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow.” Once Nice & Smooth heard that infectious sample flip, they knew they had a hit. 

“We had did that ‘Sometimes I Rhyme Slow,’ so at that time, Def Jam was like, ‘Okay, the ads are coming in really big with this song. You going to stations you don’t usually go.’” Greg Nice explains. “I’m like, ‘I like this, the money is different. The price changed.” 

Greg Nice and Smooth B joined forces as Nice & Smooth in 1986, first collaborating on wax together for the two-sided single "Dope on a Rope"/"Skill Trade" on Strange Family Records in 1987. After the single gained popularity among underground fans, they landed a guest spot on the song on Big Daddy Kane's "Pimpin Ain't Easy. The duo released four studio albums together from 1989 to 1997; and Nice & Smooth’s highest-selling album, Jewel of the Nile, peaked at number 66 on the Billboard 200 and 13 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts. They also famously teamed up with Gang Starr for the hit single "DYWCK" in 1993.

Check out our latest episode of Salute the Sample, and stay tuned for more classic Hip-Hop news.