On the most recent episode of LL COOL J’s original Rock the Bells series Salute the Sample, the legendary Queens emcee, Z-Trip, and Greg Nice break down the original sample of his classic 1995 posse cut “I Shot Ya," a remix that features an All-Star list of Hip-Hop heavy-hitters; including Keith Murray, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, and Foxy Brown.
The “I Shot Ya,” instrumental was composed by the legendary production duo Trackmasters, and was originally intended for The Notorious B.I.G. However, the beat was given to LL at the insistence of the late Chris Lighty, who was also managing Fat Joe at the time.
The original track featured three verses from LL COOL J, with a hook rapped by Keith Murray. While working on the track in the studio, Fat Joe happened to be in the next room working on his own music when he heard the gritty instrumental, prompting him to get on the remix.
The track samples Lyn Collins’ 1975 song “Put It on the Line,” taking from the song’s keys and strings throughout the track. When breaking down the song’s backstory, LL COOL J recalls how Foxy Brown was actually put on the track without his permission, ultimately leaving the verse on the single due to her stellar performance.
“The craziest story behind this is Foxy Brown,” LL recalls. “What really happened was Chris Lighty and Steve Stoute, and those guys just threw Foxy on the record. And I went into the studio, and they played it; and I was like, ‘She sound hot, leave her on there.”
LL COOL J says his favorite verse on the track came from fellow Queens wordsmith the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep, who delivers one of the most iconic rap bars of all time on the track, which would be sampled on Jay-Z’s “D'evils" a year later:
“Illuminati on my mind, soul, and my body. Secret society tryna keep they eyes on me...”
Check out the entire episode of Rock the Bell’s Salute the Sample below, and keep it locked for more classic Hip-Hop news.