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.