Roots Manuva, Cookie Crew & More On The Hip-Hop Beats They Wish They’d Got To First

What are the tracks hip-hop’s finest wish they’d rapped on? With this week’s NME celebrating 40 years of rap, we asked some of the game’s biggest names for the beats they’d love to jump on for a verse or two…

Cookie Pryce (Cookie Crew)
There was a crew from the West Coast called Above The Law. They had a track called ‘Untouchable’. When we heard that we flipped. No one was ready for that track. I would have loved to have been on that beat. It crushed us to pieces.”

Buckshot (Black Moon)
“I really dig ‘Move the Crowd’ by Eric B & Rakim. I loved the video too. If you look at ‘Duck Down’ by Black Moon we tried to copy his video too. He came in the video dressed as a general. If you look at my video I come in as a general too. That’s where I got the vibe from – Rakim.”

Talib Kweli
“’They Reminisce Over You’ by Pete Rock & CL Smooth.”

MC Lyte
“[Boogie Down Productions’] ‘South Bronx’. Just hot in every way.”

”That Onyx track ‘Last Days’, it was a beat that came on in 8 Mile at the end, I think it’s just the white boy in me but I love spitting on that shit.”

Roots Manuva
“Maybe that TNGHT by Hudson Mohawke and Lunice… nah, I’ll have ‘Hard in Da Paint’ by Waka Flocka Flame, yeah. That’s a bit more current.”

“Oh man, there are millions. But one really just hit me in the head now – Mark the 45 King gave me the beat to ‘Hard Knock Life’ right around the same time he’d gave it to Jay Z to check out. I had about six tapes to listen to from MCA, and it took me a week to get round to that one. But as soon as I heard it I called him up, but Jay Z had already bought it from him.”

”Vortex by Zombie.”

Sporting Life
”If I had to spit on one, that beat ‘Late’ by Kanye West, that bonus track. I wanna make a beat like that right now, that shit is crazy.”

DJ Shadow
“That’s tough. I never really think of beats in that way…. I mean, I hear beats every week that I wish I’d made – there are so many great beat-makers out there right now. But one specific beat…? I don’t think I can answer that!”

Bubba Sparxxx
“I can answer that one. My favourite beat is Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s ‘They Reminisce Over You’. Yeah buddy, increddddible.”