Don’t be scared to sample kids.

This is “Victory,” more specifically credited to Puff Daddy & the Family, dropped on Bad Boy Entertainment in 1998 (from the ’97 album, No Way Out). It’s produced by one of Bad Boy’s regular “Hit Men,” Stevie J. But like I said, it’s a big shameless lift from the Tuff Crew. The Tuff Crew started out their second (or third, if you wanna count Phanjam) album with an epic sounding instrumental to signal their triumphant return. They called it “Going the Distance,” because the bulk of the instrumentation is taken from the soundtrack to Rocky, specifically a track called “Going the Distance.”

Now, you might say, okay Werner, granted the Tuff Crew sampled it first, but lots of great rap songs have sampled the same records over the years. Or, to quote GURU, “rap is an art, you can’t own no loops.” But these guys didn’t just coincidentally use the same song as a sample source, they both used it the same way, rather boldly playing the whole first minute of it through rather than a standard short loop, but still chop it at the same point. But even more importantly, Stevie J paired it up with essentially the same drums that the Tuff Crew did. He removed the handclaps (after all, this wasn’t 1989 anymore), but otherwise he completely just lifted Tuff Crew’s track and played it whole for Puff.

But I’m not mad at that. First of all, because the hypothetical naysayer above would be right in pointing out that lots of great songs got to samples second (or third or twenty-eighth), and that doesn’t make them any less dope. And secondly because Tuff Crew underutilized it, making it an introductory instrumental, whereas Bad Boy turned it onto a proper song with vocals. And finally, because on some mixes (more on that in a sec) Stevie J does add a few extra elements, most notably some operatic female vocal sounds, that enhance the experience even more.