“I Miss You” (1972) was the first hit single from Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes that kickstarted the career iconic R&B soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, who died earlier this year from colon cancer. Before he was paralyzed in a 1982 car crash, Teddy created a whole whack of hits, like “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Close the Door” and Love T.K.O., the latter of which was re-written into hip-hop by Joell Ortiz, Jadakiss, Saigon and Novel in the Teddy Pendergrass Tribute mixtape (2010) hosted by Spanish wonder-DJ’s Cookin’ Soul.
Of all the songs that have sampled “I Miss You,” Jay Z’s reflective and unsettling “This Can’t be Life,” ft. Beanie Sigel and Scarface (The Dynasty) has the most sprouts. A testament to his skills as a sample- based producer, Kanye sped up the sample to accentuate Lloyd Parks’ falsetto vocals for a much more urgent re-incarnation. “Ever since you went away I ain’t been doin nothin but thinkin, thinkin, thinkin…” Pendergrass sings in the original. It’s the perfect backdrop for pondering what it all means.