Phife Dawg from the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest told Rolling Stone that they “didn’t get nothing” after releasing their most notable song “Can I Kick It?” due to their heavy sampling of Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side.”
In an interview released Tuesday (Nov. 17), Phife recalled a conversation with the Tribe’s label Jive about issues regarding the clearing of the sample.
“I don’t think they cleared the sample, and instead of Lou Reed saying, ‘You can’t use it,’ he said, ‘Y’all can use it, but I get all the money from that…to this day, we haven’t seen a dime from that song.” Reed, who performed with rock band The Velvet Underground in the 60s and 70s, has earned 100 percent of the royalties from the song since its release. There have never been any hard feelings towards the now-deceased singer, but Phife says he wishes the record label was a bit more careful with processing and clearing the sample with its owner.
“I’m grateful that [the song] kicked in the door, but to be honest, that was the label’s fault. They didn’t clear the sample,” he says. “And rightfully so. It’s his art; it’s his work. He could have easily said no. There could have easily been no ‘Can I Kick It?’ So you take the good with the bad. And the good is, we didn’t get sued. We just didn’t get nothing from it.”
The Tribe recently reunited on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform “Can I Kick It?” in celebration to the 25th anniversary of their debut album.