Taking On Nautilus: Who Flipped It Best?

Bob James: Nautilus
From One (CTI, 1974)

Lord Shafiyq: My Mic Is On Fire
From 12″ (NUWR, 1987)

Main Source: Live At the BBQ
From Breaking Atoms (Wild Pitch, 1991)

Ghostface Killah: Daytona 500
From Ironman (Epic, 1996)

I had the idea for this post for quite a bit, ever since I remembered reading an interview with Bob James where he was asked what he thought about different samplings of his music. RZA’s flip on “Nautlius” for “Daytona 500” drew high praise, especially because RZA transposed the sample into a different key, giving it a more sinister edge. However, RZA was the latest in line of hip-hop producers to play off “Nautilus,” arguably the most popular of James’ CTI-era compositions, though not the most recognizable.

I realize the three songs I picked were merely a handful out of dozens of possibilities but “Live at the BBQ” seemed like a good contrast, especially because the way Large Professor worked with “Nautilus” isn’t as obvious as other uses. On the other hand, I went with Lord Shafiyq’s random rap classic, “My Mic Is On Fire,” because it was one of the early rap tunes to use “Nautilus” so prominently, and using one of the more striking passages at that.