Rap and rock have always had a flirtatious relationship and both genres have a lot in common. They're both disruptive, rebellious forms of art that originated amongst youths, they both have elements of improvisation as well as individual and group virtuosity, and they're both best enjoyed at high volumes, preferably in residential neighborhoods.
Throughout the years, both genres have had a healthily symbiotic relationship. Rappers borrow from the aggressive spirit of rock, but also lend a snarling attitude to artists like Kid Rock and Beck (kind of). In the end, the goal is the same: screw up the system and run things our way.
As such kindred spirits, it makes sense that tons of rap songs have sampled classic rock records. We thought it'd be fly to wiz through the past and see what the Best Classic Rock Sample Flips in hip-hop history are. Here's what we found.
Sample: 10cc - 'Johnny, Don't Do It' (1973)
This is one of those flips that makes your jaw drop. Dilla makes the artsy fartsy 10cc swoon on 'Waves,' bumping them from doo-wop mimicry to soulful slop with the flick of an MPC pad. If this is up your alley, peep the way Dilla transforms a Beatles cover into a lullaby with ‘Sleeping Like A Dog’ from his 2005 Beat CD #1. (Bonus: track down the ‘Recipe For Tasty Donuts’ mix online for a comprehensive collection of ‘Donuts’ samples. You won’t be disappointed.)
Paul Barman Feat. DOOM - 'Hot Guacamole'
Sample: Creedence Clearwater Revival – 'Down On The Corner' (1969)
If there’s one riff on here that’ll make you dance like a white person, it’s 'Hot Guacamole.' It’s got the same stimulating effect at a hoedown that 'Cotton Eye Joe' has at Yankee games. You can practically see a redneck standing next to a river chewing tobacco when you hear the guitar rev up on 'Hot Guacamole.' Probably doesn’t help that the song is by this guy either. Sorry if 'Hot Guacamole' or 'Down On The Corner' are forever ruined for you now.
Beanie Sigel - 'The Truth'
Sample: Graham Nash – 'Chicago' (1971)
Hip-hop’s sampling tradition doesn’t get enough recognition for it’s ability to make listeners fans of other genres. Madlib can introduce you to jazz. Alchemist is a gateway drug to soul. El-P probably put you onto prog rock. 'Chicago' is dope because you could play it for a bunk full of Jewish kids at summer camp and they’d love it without ever knowing who Beanie Sigel is. Safety first, right?
Herb McGruff - 'I Keep My Palm On The Handle (Remix)'
Sample: David Axelrod – 'Holy Thursday' (1968)
Godfather Don doesn’t get an eighth of the respect that the man who deals you eighths gets. That’s f—ked up. Everyone and their momma has flipped this David Axelrod track, from the Chocolate Boy Wonder and Buckwild to Swizzy and Joe Fatal, but G. Don stuffs this remix with extra Bob James and Marvin Gaye samples to boot. His flip is superb because it doesn’t sound like it’s going to work at first, but Herb pulls the track together and Don makes sure every layer works, even the Miles-like trumpet.
Sample: Led Zeppelin – ‘When The Levee Breaks’ (1971)
It’s hard to find a corner of music that hasn’t sampled Led Zeppelin’s cavernous drums from ‘When The Levee Breaks.’ Everyone from Dr. Dre to Massive Attack has used the knocking percussion to their advantage, and it’s widely respected as one of the greatest rock n’ roll drum breaks of all time. Play it in the locker room; play it after you get laid; play it for your little cousins, because when they grow up and bump ‘Kim,’ they’ll thank you.
Cunninlynguists - 'Since When'
Sample: Terry Reid – 'Loving Time' (1968)
If ‘Jackson & Travolta’ was the first time you ever heard this riding guitar sample from Terry Reid, how can we know you’re real? CL’s ‘A Piece of Strange’ is a sad boys classic, both musically and conceptually, so every single record counts. ‘Since When’ is the first song, and it’s either inspirational church organ music or a demonic rollercoaster to hell, depending on how you feel. But do remember – Kno injected this loop with life before Party Supplies did.
Beastie Boys - 'Johnny Ryall'
Sample: David Bromberg – 'Sharon' (1972)
‘Paul’s Boutique’ is an all-you-can-eat sample buffet, and with The Dust Brothers on production duties, the Beastie Boys dug a little deeper than most and resurfaced with this dope gem by David Bromberg, 'Sharon.' The slumping riff becomes more like a trooping soundtrack for the leader of the homeless, 'Johnny Ryall,' making for a better rock flip than anything Em tried on ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2.'
Dame Dash, Kanye West, Cam'ron & Beanie Sigel Feat. Young Chris & Twista - 'Champions'
Sample: Queen – 'We Are The Champions' (1977)
Wiz might have jogged your memory for this track with 'Phone Numbers,' but Dame Dash was the first guy to have his producer freak Queen’s 'We Are The Champions.' Dame recently told the story of how Just Blaze was originally assigned the task of flipping the track, but he was too busy at the time, so Dame gave it to a young and hungry Kanye West instead, who would always get anything done immediately. Dame is known for his unique personality, but that’s a valuable lesson to learn in any industry. The piano chops, though...
Lord Finesse Feat. Big L - 'Yes You May (Funk Flow Mix)'
Sample: Little Richard – 'The Rill Thing' (1970)
Who knew Little Richard songs had drum breaks? You’ll have to dig up the Albert King sample to find the bassline, but knowing that producer Showbiz paired that loop with the opening drums from 'The Rill Thing' make it an even more astounding collage of sound. Add the golden flourish of horns and you’ve got one of the best D.I.T.C. beats ever made. And that’s no joke.
Run-DMC Feat. Aerosmith - 'Walk This Way'
Sample: Aerosmith – 'Walk This Way' (1975)
The grand daddy of all classic rock samples. 'Walk This Way' is such a historic innovation in hip-hop that Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons went for the gold and had Aerosmith actually perform on the track instead of simply lifting their riffs. What 'Rapper’s Delight was to the disco world, 'Walk This Way' was to the rock world, and the message was uniform: rap clearly kicks your ass.