So how is it possible that the benchmark of Otis Redding samples doesn’t even feature the great man’s towering vocals? Credit the Georgia wailer’s immense soulful songwriting and musical greatness of Stax Records’ house band Booker T. & The MG’s. But rather than lift “Hard to Handle’” effortless chicken scratch guitar work and strutting horns, legendary hip-hop producer Marley Marl sampled the song’s now indelible gospel-molded piano intro for what would become rap’s greatest posse cut. Otis’ immaculate groove powered the Juice Crew’s blistering rhyme clinic so emphatically that both Nas’ Firm outfit (“Affirmative Action remix”) and a No-Limit-era Snoop Dogg (“Ghetto Symphony”) paid their respects to the ageless groove.
The Symphony” by Marley Marl feat. Masta Ace, Craig G and Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane (1988):
Sampled from Otis Redding's “Hard to Handle” (1968):