The top 5 rap songs that sampled Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s rap influence (Artwork by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

The world is celebrating Aretha Franklin because of who she is and what she represents to music and Black culture. Her talent has stretched across many genres of music and affected many soundscapes. Rap music is not absent from that discussion. Many of the driving rhythms and melodic music of Franklin’s have added to the tapestry of this art form we call rap and the culture of hip-hop. Let’s take a look at the top five rap songs to sample The Queen of Soul.

While the world is singing “Respect,” arguably Aretha Franklin’s greatest hit, the song that resonates with this writer is “Rock Steady.” The rhythm is timeless and has made for one of the perfect breakbeats for rap.

EPMD sampled “Rock Steady” on their classic release Strictly Business in the song “I’m Housin.” The funk is preserved and still remains hip-hop.

 

Ms. Franklin’s song “One Step Ahead” is an ode to avoiding heartbreak and preserving a love.

Ayatollah produced “Ms Fat Booty” which contains elements of “One Step Ahead” for Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, and appears on his album Black On Both Sides. This song is arguably Yasiin’s biggest hit. The song tells the story of a young brother shooting his shot to a beautiful woman.

The way Aretha addressed the subject of love you can tell that it comes from a heartfelt and emotional place. Her song “Call Me” is a song of anticipation, a song where you find a woman yearning for her love just by asking for a phone call.

The Kanye West-produced “Selfish” borrowed a bit from “Call Me” for Slum Village’s album Detroit Deli. Slum approaches their song as a moment to praise all the beautiful women they love. Kanye makes sure not to miss out on this dope production with his own verse. “This one here is a heat rock spit like a beat box the way the beat rocks new version of Pete Rock.”

On “Young Gifted and Black” we find Aretha steeped in her gospel roots. She celebrates the beauty of Blackness at time when Black Power was the mantra of the culture.

DJ Premier sampled the song for Gang Starr’s Daily Operation album on a 30-second joint called “92 Interlude.” I always felt like that would be an awesome song. Most recently you can find the vibe on the 9th Wonder-produced “Laila’s Wisdom.” It appears on Rapsody’s debut project by the same name.

“Oh Baby” is yet another song where we find the Queen lamenting over love.

The producer Ski skillfully plants her vocals across the production of Jay-Z’s song “In My Lifetime (Big Jaz Radio Mix) from The Streets is Watching soundtrack. This is rap at its essence, and the soul was able to traverse the genres effortlessly.

 

-Precise

Stream/Buy “That Ol’ Boom Bap” by Precise

Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Video paints the picture of a mathriarchy

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Jay-Z wraps up the year with yet another amazing visual from 4:44. ‘Family Feud’ directed and filmed by Ava Duvernay showcases a different world some hundreds of years in the future. The Founding Mother’s led by Blue Ivy has changed the world and years later there is a shift.

The video is visually stunning and features many of Hollywoods finest. Take a look for yourself and tell me what you think.

-Precise

Buy/Listen to “Speak Life” by Precise

Jaz O and Jay Z dead their beef

Jay Z and his mentor Jaz O have reunited after years of feuding. Jay Z’s 4:44 tour made its way to Chicago’s United Center and the historic moment was captured backstage. Jaz O, NO ID and Jay Z stand side by side fully aware of the moment that they were creating.

Jaz O rose to prominence in the 90’s when he released a song called “The Originators” featuring a young Jay Z. Both artists collaborated on early Jay Z releases.

The legendary feud between them started when Jaz O decided not to sign with Roc-A –Fella. Rumors of Jaz O assisting Nas during the battle he had with Jay Z swirled around for a bit and added to the bad blood between mentor and protégée. After many years of back and forth diss songs and their careers going in different directions it would make sense that this beef would continue way into the future. However; as with most things in life time heals all wounds.

This reunion is significant because of what it means for the culture. Arguably we can say without Jaz O there would be no Jay Z. If this was the case hip hop and rap music would not be what we know today.

-Precise

Listen/Buy “It’s On Me” by Precise

Kanye ain’t been the same since ……

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Kanye West – Photo source: instagram @kanyewestdaily

It continues. Kanye has yet unleashed another one of his legendary rants to the displeasure of his fans. Following his rant on November 17th in San Jose, he goes in on yet another one last night  November 19th in Sacramento. This rant was more specific to Jay Z and Beyonce and some industry information many of us may not be privy to. I will go out on a limb and say these attention grabbing rants have nothing to do with the November 23rd release of his Yeezy Boost 750s. I mean that would be to on the nose…right? Well lets say that this is true, why is Kanye seemingly having meltdowns on stage and leaving shows early infuriating his fans?

In the past few days Kanye has voiced his support of President-elect Trump, addressed the importance of collaboration and ideas. He asked Jay Z not to send killers after him and to call him like a man, then he said he was hurt by Beyonce because of a rumor he heard about her and MTV. He started the most recent rant by saying “Fuck You” to the radio.

So at this point the general consensus is that Kanye is crazy. I have even been told by someone close to his camp that he is suffering from mental retardation and that everybody know this. Well I didn’t know. No one can explain why Kanye has been going down this road for sometime now. Some people blame the Kardashians, others blame his friends or lack thereof. Others say Kanye has not been the same since his mother died. To be honest I don’t know if anyone would be the same after their mom dies, plus I’m not a therapist. What I do know is that in the midst of Kanye’s stream of consciousness (rants) he drops a jewel here and there. So, I have not totally written the brother of yet. He is from my city and I support him. I wont buy a ticket to his show (because I actually like to hear music at concerts) and I don’t necessarily agree with his political views, but I do think ideas are important, radio is being bought, political parties suck and collaboration is a good thing. Does that make me crazy? Who are you to say Kanye is? When did the internet become therapists?

I want to know what you think. Take a moment and share in the comments below.

Buy/Listen to ‘Speak Life’ by Precise