If you were to turn on a hip hop radio station in the early ’90s, you were almost guaranteed to hear Wilson Pickett. It might seem ludicrous that a ’60s soul crooner would sit comfortably next to the apolitical ranting of N.W.A and the wacky kung-fu banter of Wu-Tang Clan, but thanks to the magic of sampling technology, he did. From 1987 to 1993, a single sample from Wilson Pickett’s 1970 hit “Get Me Back in Time, Engine No.9” appeared in twelve different hip hop songs, including the infamous “Straight Outta Compton.” It isn’t clear exactly what made “¦Engine No.9” so alluring for hip hop producers, but the answer might have something to do with the production team partially responsible for the single’s success.
From the ’60s through the ’80s, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, working together under the moniker Gamble & Huff, were collectively involved in the production of over 100 gold and platinum records. In addition to producing over seventy Top 10 hits, the duo were responsible for forty number one singles. As one of the most prolific songwriting and production teams in history, they were inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.