Kendrick Lamar Got Ronald “Mr. Big” Isley’s Blessing When He Made “i” (Video)
Biz Markie might have made it a habit to have All Samples Cleared thanks to Gilbert O’Sullivan, but not all artists from yesterday are pleased with having their music touched. While O.G.’s like Bob James and Donald Byrd not only embraced sampling—they collaborated with Hip-Hop artists, other artists like Syl Johnson and even Chuck D have had problems, at times, with sampling—for more than just financial reasons.
When Kendrick Lamar and producer Rahki lifted The Isley Brothers’ 1972 United Artists single, “(Who’s) That Lady, Pt. 1” for “i,” the Aftermath/TDE star traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to personally ask for Ronald Isley’s blessing. Besides the song, K-Dot sought out Mr. Big’s personal approval of what he was doing with the Impressions-inspired 3 + 3 single that the fraternity first performed eight years earlier, in 1964. Kendrick explained why he did this to Big Boy’s Neighborhood:
Previously (and perhaps to Ron’s dismay), the song has been used in the Anchorman films, and in Swifter commercials. Ron Isley has worked with R. Kelly, Ja Rule, UGK, Nas, Mobb Deep, Nelly, Wu-Tang Clan, Foxy Brown, Trick Daddy, Warren G, and Queen Pen, among others.
Has your opinion of “i” changed since first hearing it?