I think that I can safely say that when the late Nickolas Ashford and his wife, Valerie Simpson sat down to write what I feel is the best of the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell duets, they never dreamed that a piece of it would reappear almost 30 years later in a song that doesn’t share much of anything with it but a piece of musical DNA.
That song that I am referring to is “You’re All I Need To Get By.” A song that I felt so good about, I made it a part of my wedding. And granted, a lot of those Marvin & Tammi duets were classics: “Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Your Precious Love” stand out as examples of male/female duet greatness, as well as some of the more romantic songs ever written. Many of you out there may have heard of Ashford & Simpson, the duo that performed the hit “Solid” from back in the 80s, but before they were artists, they were first-rate songwriters before they became performers. Listen to this beautiful piece of romantic, Motown, heart of the 60s soul right here and tell me I’m not right.
In 1995, Method Man and Mary J. Blige took a piece of that track and updated it for a new generation. While the sentiment may sound different language-wise, the point is still pretty much unchanged. The original track from Method Man’s album Tical is given a shuffling hip-hop beat and an on-point rap by the artist, a choice sample from the Notorious B.I.G. and Blige hammering the hook/chorus home, an old favorite comes through in a whole new way (song is not worksafe). I believe the remix was done by none other than one Sean “Diddy” Combs, but I’m not sure of the last detail. Though the use of Biggie on the track is probably a giveaway in and of itself.
I can’t pick a favorite; the older song is near and dear to my heart, while the second one ranks up there with one of the best hip-hop/R&B collabos of the 90s. They are both good in two distinctly different ways. Perhaps you may feel one is better than the other based on when you were born, or maybe you can appreciate both equally. Whichever you choose, feel free to express your thoughts in the comments.