“Victory” is as epic as it gets when it comes to rap records, and this larger than life feel all started with the sample, and the genius mind of composer Bill Conti. Â Studying at the Juilliard School of Music, Conti mastered his craft, and was more than prepared when hired in 1976 to compose the music for a relatively small budget film calledÂ Rocky. Â As we all know,Â Rockybecame a mega-hit, grossing more money than any other film that year, winning 3 Oscars (including Best Picture), and eventually becoming one of the most iconic motion pictures in American history. Â The producers made back the budget a few hundred times over and the theme song “Gonna Fly Now” hit number one on the Billboard charts…Conti had done his job. Â As you might expect he went on to compose the music forÂ Rocky II (’79),Â Rocky III (’82),Â Rocky V (’90), and evenÂ Rocky Balboa (’06). Â Conti achieved great success in creating music for several other films and television shows, but his fame will always be attached to what he accomplished with the unforgettable soundtrack and score to the originalÂ Rocky.
“Victory” starts out the same way as “Going The Distance” until we hear Puffy’s adlibs. Â Before the drums drop, musically both records are very similar, with the exception of the “Victory” beat looping a few bar and 2 bar sequences to draw out the progression. Â Biggie’s verse comes in with the kick and snare, and is comprised mostly of the 2 bar loop taken from the 0:32 mark of the sample. Â No discredit to the producers, but minus a flurry of hi-hats and some other drums, the power of the “Victory” beat comes almost entirely from the work done by Bill Conti (I recommend listening to the whole piece). The work of Christopher Wallace is what makes the record itself a classic.