Sample clearances... The hip-hop producers worst nightmare. I've always been fascinated with alternative mixes, lost material, and such because I like how it gives room to change the musical experience of an album in a way. There's a lot of fantastic shit out there that never made it past the cutting room floor. I will try to post some of those gems every now and again, starting with one of my personal favorites; the original version of Mos Def's brilliant three piece set, "Brooklyn". Mos' straight up amazing solo debut "Black On Both Sides" gives very little room for improvement, but if this version is not better, then it's at least just as dope. According to Wikipedia, there's apparantly also a third version where Geology's original instrumental runs during all three verses. I never came across this though. In fact, I have never seen it mentioned from any trustworthy source either, so who knows?
On the album version, The Mighty Mos' hometown homage is placed over the aforementioned Geology instrumental; an interpretation of Smif-N-Wessun's "Home Sweet Home", and finally the instrumental to BIG's "Who Shot Ya?". On the version found below, all three beats are lifted instrumentals of '90s New York classics; kicking things off to Raekwon/RZA's "Incarcerated Scarfaces"; then the "Who Shot Ya?" section is followed by the illest part of the whole song, where Mos decides to rip Mobb Deep/Q-Tip's "Give Up the Goods (Just Step)". Classic shit indeed!