DJ Quik was pissed. The rapper-producer was troubling over a track one night last year, and his wife wouldn’t let him concentrate. ”I drowned her out with the TV, and I had it on the Indian channel,” he recalls. ”I went to brush my teeth and just started grooving. That s — – was tight! So I rushed to press record on the VCR.”
What he got was ”Thoda Resham Lagta Hai,” sung by legendary Indian playback vocalist Lata Mangeshkar in the 1981 film Jyoti. But it should have come with a warning: Sample this and pay the price.
Within a few days, Quik had transformed the tabla and chants of the original into worthy, if peculiar, hip-hop, speeding up Mangeshkar’s vocals and adding some B.T. Express drums. Rappers MC Lyte and AMG both recorded songs with the seductive riff, but it ultimately found the perfect home as the backdrop for ”Addictive,” the debut single by Dr. Dre singing protegee Truth Hurts (nee Shari Watson).
Recorded for Truthfully Speaking, her album on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label, it features Truth growling about a man whose ”lovemakin”’ is too thorough to resist. Rap icon Rakim also adds a little street-level sentiment. ”Addictive” rose to No. 2 on Billboard’s R&B chart within a few months of its March release, leaving one loose end — no one ever cleared the sample.
”We tried our best to reach out to the folks who owned the song,” says 30-year-old Truth. Contact was never made. ”When they finally called us,” Quik reports, ”they were actually honored that it was used.”
”Hogwash,” says Dedra S. Davis, the attorney representing Saregama India Limited, the Calcutta-based music concern that owns the rights to the song. ”The curses, the sexual suggestions — these are against the Hindu faith. Their religious convictions have not been honored or respected.”
Saregama is now in negotiations with Aftermath. ”They don’t want us to pull it from the shelves,” says Davis, so Saregama will ”without a doubt” be seeking payments beyond traditional sample-clearance fees. All the quibbling hasn’t hurt Truth, though. ”The original was hot,” she says, ”and we made something hot from it, too.” As for Quik, he hopes the dispute will end in a manner befitting the song he sampled: ”Even though I couldn’t understand what [Mangeshkar] was saying, I could feel it wasn’t nothing evil in there.”