While the nation mourns the loss of Nick Ashford – one half of the iconic singer-songwriter team Ashford and Simpson with wife Valerie –it is important to note that the duo has been responsible for some of R&B greatest hits, finding fame with their pens as part of Motown Records’ songwriting team in the mid-60s before venturing out on their own as artists. As Hip Hop music progressed from its funk and disco sound into the technological upswing of sampling, Ashford and Simpson’s work has been used as a backdrop for many Hip Hop hits. Below, RapFix takes a look at some of those tracks.
Legendary female rapper MC Lyte employed one of the earlier uses of Ashford and Simpson’s work by sampling the duo’s biggest hit “Solid” for her 1988 track “Lyte As A Rock” from her debut album of the same name. The Ashford and Simpson-penned Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell hit “You’re All I Need To Get By” formed the basis for a rugged Method Man cover of the song featuring R&B songstress Mary J. Blige in 1995.
Ashford and Simpson’s music was also used by the recently deceased Amy Winehouse as the duo’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” track written for Gaye and Terrell fueled the sound for Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own.” A quick Web search revealed that many other acts borrowed from the vast pool of music that Ashford and Simpson either recorded or were responsible for creating. Rapper DMX, R&B singer Tyrese, producer 9th Wonder and G-Unit chief 50 Cent have all used a part of the duo’s work in some capacity.
Nick Ashford had been battling throat cancer for some time, succumbing to disease at the age 69 in a New York hospital yesterday (August 22). He is survived by his wife Valerie Simpson and two daughters, Nicole and Asia.
Rest In Peace to Nick Ashford.