Remembering Michael Jackson: The King of Pop’s Influence on Hip-Hop

It’s been three years to the day that we lost Michael Jackson and his iconic presence is still vividly felt (and, obviously, heard) through his immortal music. As Jackson’s career catapulted, the world watched The King break boundaries and color lines as he transcended music forever.You can bet that almost every artist grew up watching a young MJ, emulating him and his Jackson 5 brothers. You may not even realize it, but your favorite rap songs feature Michael Jackson. Here’s a short list of some of ours:

Nas — In “It Aint Hard to Tell” on his classic album Illmatic, Nas samples Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit “Human Nature.”

Naughty by Nature — The Jersey boys went with the Jackson 5 track “ABC” to loop into their 1991 hit “OPP.”

Notorious B.I.G. — Biggie sampled the Jackson 5 track “I Want You Back” for his song “One More Chance” featured on his 1994 album Ready to Die.

Jay-Z — “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).” Jay-Z set the hip-hop world on fire when he got MJ to come out on stage at Hot 97’s Summer Jam in 2001. Definitely a moment for the hip-hop history books.

Tupac — “Letter 2 My Unborn Child”  snagged a lil’ bit from Jackson’s “Liberian Girl”

Puff Daddy & The Family — “It’s All About the Benjamins” took a hint from the other family and sampled Jackson 5’s “It’s Great to be Here”

LL Cool J — “Hey Lover.” LL wrote a song to a lover using Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life”

Fabolous — Cleverly sampled Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” on his track “Baby.” Fab even referenced MJ in the track, “I wanna keep it comin like the singles of ‘Thriller’.”

Ice Cube — “You Know How We Do It” sampled Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”

Kanye West — The  adamant  MJ fan sampled Jackson’s “PYT” for his track “Good Life”. If you look closely at the video you can see a pop-up Michael Jackson. And let’s not forget, “got a light skinned friend, look like Michael Jackson. Got a dark skinned friend, look like Michael Jackson.”

The King of Pop is and will forever be hip-hop.



    It’s unfortunate that we live in a society which tears apart
    an artist’s life while they’re alive and makes a martyr of them after their
    death.  Hopefully Michael is resting more
    peacefully than he lived, under the intense heat of the media.  Who was the man in the mirror and behind the
    television screens?  I addressed MJ’s
    legacy with a portrait on my artist’s blog at  Drop by and let me know how his music
    affected you.  While you’re there, we’ve
    posted the Top 10 music videos of All Time from the King of Pop!

  • james cromwell

    I think they are all given too much. Case in point>

    Bobby Brown Serves Nine Hours in Jail for Third DUI
    While California is known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, it seems Bobby Brown has been let off easy. He was released Wednesday after serving nine hours of his 55-day jail sentence for driving under the influence.
    L.A. County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore told the media that Brown was released early due to jail overcrowding and good behavior

    These guys get all the breaks and still fail.