We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jessie Ware as our You Oughta Know artist for the month of April. We’ve been full-on stans for her debut LP, Devotion, ever since it was released in the U.K. late last summer, and we can’t wait until U.S. audiences are able to hear the album when its U.S. edition drops next Tuesday (4/16). One of our favorite tracks on the album is a bouncy number called “If You’re Never Gonna Move,” which draws its inspiration from a picture that Jessie Ware once saw of the hip-hop artist Big Pun.
“It was written when I was really struggling with what to write,” Ware confessed. “I was in my first session with this guy called Julio Bashmore, who I also wrote ‘Sweet Talk’ and ‘Running’ with, and I was so nervous. He had this hip-hop portrait book. 2Pac, Biggie, Snoop, DMX were all in it, and then there was Big Pun in this big throne in it. And it was an amazing, amazing picture. And I was just like, ‘Okay, I’m going to try and get him out of the throne and to dance with me.'”
Using Big Pun as inspiration, the song initially contained a sample of his song “Dream Shatterer” as part of the hook — specifically, Pun’s disturbing line “Carving my initials on your forehead.” The juxtaposition of such an ominous line in a what amounts to a seductive song is really daring, but Ware explaind to us that “I think it was the rhythmic quality of the ‘Carving my initials’ that really worked with it. I don’t know if we were really thinking about what it was saying at the time, but yes, that juxtaposition was completely planned. (sarcasm) But yeah, I think it was more about the rhythm and we wanted to bring Big Pun into it. We didn’t even know if it was going to be released, we were just trying to be creative and have fun with it.”
Sadly, though, the Big Pun sample no longer appears on the track. Legal issues with publishers necessitated the sample being removed from future pressings of the song. Still, it’s one of our favorite tracks off of Devotion, and its video is gorgeous, too (which you can watch below). We hope you’ll concur!