"Letter to My Unborn," one of the 879 posthumous 2Pac singles, is taken from his 2001 album Until the End of Time. It sampled Michael Jackson's 1989 smash "Liberian Girl," off of Bad. Another 2Pac song, "The Thug in Me," and MC Lyte's "Keep on Keeping On" also sampled "Liberian Girl." At the beginning of the original version of "Thug in Me," Pac tells his producer: "I like that beat that MC Lyte got. Johnny J, flip that sh*t. Let's do that sh*t like over."
The original version of Trae's "Swang" sampled MJ's "Lady in My Life". However, Trae's label was unable to clear the rights for the sample. As a result, Trae was forced to re-record the song over a different beat. Still, the OG version remains one of the best hip-hop songs to ever sample MJ.
"It's All About the Benjamins," which features Lil Kim, The LOX & Notorious B.I.G., is probably Puffy's biggest hit ever. It climbed all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and its won a "Viewer's Choice" award at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards for the music video. The song's DNA is comprised of Love Unlimited's "I Did It For Love" and Jackson 5's "It's Great to Be Here."
Q-Tip sampled Jackson 5 on "Fight/Love" and "Move/Renaissance Rap," both taken from his critically acclaimed Renaissance LP. The latter, produced by J Dilla, borrows elements of J5's "Dancing Machine." The Rik Cordero-directed video also alludes to Jackson's "You Rock My World" video.
6. J Dilla - "Time (The Donut of the Heart)"
"All I Do Is Think of You" is a favorite among Jackson 5 fans. The ballad, which appears on Jackson 5's Moving Violation, is also one of the group's most sampled tunes. A slightly faster, albeit equally melancholic, version of the song forms the backbone of Dilla's "Time - Donut of the Heart," off his critically-acclaimed 2006 album, Donuts. The Roots later used the same track as for the album closer, "Can't Stop This", on 2007's Game Theory.
"You Ain't A Killer" is a standout cut from Pun's 1996 LP, Capital Punishment. The piano loops harvested from the first six seconds of "With a Child's Heart" ends up serving as the backdrop of Pun's 4-minute gem. The cinematic beat compliments Pun's gritty flow and the effect is as timeless as hip-hop itself. Khrysis also sampled "With a Child's Heart" for Little Brother's brilliant "Watch Me," from The Minstrel Show.
Naughty By Nature struck gold with their 1991 hit single "O.P.P.," which sampled the Jackson 5 hit. The irrepresibly catchy "O.P.P." helped propel Naughty By Nature's self-titled debut to platinum status. It remains one of the biggest crossover hits hip-hop has ever witnessed.
This 1996 masterwork offered an early indication of Ghost's penchant for soulful samples. It samples Jackson 5's "Maybe Tomorrow," with young Michael on lead vocals. Ghost tapped songstress Mary J. Blige and an eloquent Popa Wu to add even more soul power to an already fierce RZA beat. Ghostface supposedly wrote the song as a tribute to his mother.
When you hear "Breakadawn," the 1993 single from De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate, the first thing that jumps out at you is the riveting sample. Prince Paul incorporates a mix of live instrumentation and elements from Jackson's "I Can't Help It," taken from Off the Wall.
What do Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" and Nas' "It Ain't Hard to Tell" have in common? For starters, they're both cold classics. Illmatic is often heralded as one of the best hip-hop albums ever. This Large Professor-laced gem from Nas' opus owes its success to the late King of Pop.