The sad passing of The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has left a massive hole in our hearts.
An empowering and fierce songbird, Aretha inspired generations upon generations in every genre of music with her insane vocal range, endless class and worldwide adoration, breaking down barriers everywhere she went.
Here’s 5 Hip-Hop songs we adore that sampled the goddess herself.
5) Styles & Pharoah Monch – The Life
From 2002, that classic boom bap sound from Styles and Pharoahe Monch sampled Aretha’s soaring vocals on “The Long Winding Road”, from her 1972 classic LP “Young, Gifted and Black.”
4) Jay-Z – In My Lifetime (Remix)
Young and hungry Jigga Man absolutely kills this amazing flip of Aretha’s “Oh Baby” from the 1974 album “Let Me In Your Life. The Queen was a very underrated pianist, and those gorgeous Rhodes piano chords are 100% Franklin baby.
3) Slum Village – Selfish
The first of two Kanye productions on here, Ye loved Aretha. This post-Dilla Slum Village classic has stood the test of time thanks to the stunning piano and string arrangement from Franklin’s “Call Me”, off her 1970 album “The Girl’s In Love With You”, along with John Legend interpolating The Queen’s melodies from the track. I may love the original even more tbh.
2) Kanye West – School Spirit
Kanye/Aretha number two, this time for his own legendary first 2004 album “The College Dropout”, turning Aretha’s holy “Spirit In The Dark” into a scathing jab at University life.
There’s a great story behind this song: When Ye called up Aretha to ask permission for the sample, she agreed on the provision that there would be no swearing on the track. Thus, “School Spirit” is the only track on the explicit album where all the swearing is muted.
Lesson learnt: When The Queen requests something, you do it.
1) Mos Def – Ms. Fat Booty
How could this not be number one? Mighty Mos’ breakout hit is thanks to Aretha’s legendary vocals from the classic “One Step Ahead”, creating a soulful hook for the ages.
“I know i can’t afford to stop, though i know that it’s too much to forgot.”
Less said about it the better. It speaks for itself. RIP The Queen, you are dearly missed.