Another great hip-hop mystery is laid to rest. The melody on “Shook Ones Pt. II” by Mobb Deep comes from “Jessica” by Herbie Hancock,
performed by V.S.O.P. on the The Quintet live LP.
Update: Hawkeye from the Soul Strut forums has deduced that Havoc actually sampled the original version of “Jessica” from the Fat Albert Rotunda LP. Listen here.
Bronco of the The-Breaks.com forums made the discovery, most likely in a scene resembling the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. “Shook Ones Pt. II” is basically the definitive New York rap record and the sample has long been a mystery among rap nerds. When I asked Havoc about it in May, he said couldn’t remember,
You know, they ask me that all the time. I can tell you like this. One of the samples in the song is from a Quincy Jones record … The piano is from a jazz record that I sampled. I forgot what it was by now, but it was a jazz record that I chopped up and did two different pitches and pressed them on the keyboard.
Sure enough, the melody is instantly recognizable when you pitch down the piano on “Jessica,” as demonstrated by