Sunday Night Sample - A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It?

ORIGINAL - Lou Reed - "Walk On The Wild Side"

Legendary song by legendary rap group tonight.

"Can I Kick It?" was a smash record off Tribe's debut album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

There are lots of samples used in this record besides the obvious Lou Reed instrumental. 

"Walk On The Wild Side" was successful in it's own right. Off of Reed's popular 1972 album Transformer.

Tribe never got the song cleared correctly so they actually never saw a dime off the song's success. Lou Reed instead collected all royalties and his estate continues to til this day.

Rolling Stone - “I remember with [record label] Jive, there was a problem with the sample being cleared,” Phife told Rolling Stone. “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.'”

Reed took all of the royalties and publishing, says Phife, and “to this day, we haven’t seen a dime from that song.” He doesn’t seem to mind, though.

“I’m grateful that [the song] kicked in the door, but to be honest, that was the label’s fault,” the rapper says. “They didn’t clear the sample. 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.”

There's actually two versions of this record. One is the album version, posted above. The other is the video used for the music video and can be heard here.

The music video was pretty cutting edge for it's time. It features A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, literally kicking the word "it" around while rapping in an alley, and a construction site.

The Phife Dog line, "Mr. Dinkins won't you please be my mayor?" is a reference to David Dinkins, who did indeed become mayor - the first black mayor of New York City. Dinkins took office in 1990 and had the position until 1993 when he lost to Rudy Giuliani.

Phife also hated hearing the song because of how high pitched his voice was on the recording. He was only 19 when he laid this track with Q-Tip.

The reoccurring lines "Err, you can…"  and "th-then do so, at once" were sampled from a British kid's TV show called SuperTed. The line comes from a character named Spotty, voiced by actor John Pertwee of Dr. Who fame.

Tribe also performed the song at the premiere of Yo! MTV Raps Unplugged


Some other songs receiving sample credits on the track include -

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - "What a Waste"

Baby Huey-  "Hard Times"

Eugene McDaniels - "Jagger The Dagger"

Archie Bell & The Drells - "Don't Let Love Get You Down"


and Sergei Prokofiev - "Montagues and Capulets" from Romeo and Juliet.

Q-Tip is a genius.