Sampled 70’s music in Hip-Hop & Rap

todaySeptember 12, 2023 50 2

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By Ariana Mendoza

Music Journalist

The 1970’s stands as a golden era of innovation and experimental music. This period in musical history birthed iconic grooves, mesmerizing melodies and soulful harmonies that continue to resonate with listeners across generations.

A landscape poster of yellow, orange, red and teal lines going across the page with the text "1970’s"
Retro 1970’s Colorful Poster | Ariana Mendoza

70’s music continues to live on through modern music, shaping the sound of modern day hip-hop and rap. Many samples from the 1970’s have found new life in the beats of today’s well-known rappers. Here are a few iconic hits from artists that were inspired by these 70’s tunes and shaping them into their own.

Labi Siffre, a British singer-songwriter, is a popular music artist from the groovy decade. His songs have been sampled many times, especially in the rap scene. His song titled, “I Got The…” (1975) was sampled in the late 90’s by both Jay Z’s, “Streets is Watching,” and one of Eminem’s most popular songs, “My Name is”. Siffre was also sampled from his smooth, relaxing track “My Song” (1972) which is the main vocals in the chorus of Kanye West’s “I Wonder” from his third studio album, Graduation.

Not only did Kanye West sample Siffre, but he also continues to sample more tracks and artists from the 70’s. Junie Morrison, an American singer-songwriter, is sampled in Kanye’s “No More Parties in LA” featuring Kendrick Lamar. “Suzie Thundertussy” (1976) groovy hook is heard in the background throughout the whole track.

The Isley Brothers seem to be a favorite sample in the rap and hip-hop scene as well. They are sampled in one of Ice Cube’s greatest hits, “It Was a Good Day”. “Footsteps In the Dark” (1977) is the main beat for the whole duration of the song with Ice Cube’s lyric flows. Another sample taken by a rapper from the Isley Brothers is Kendrick Lamar. From one of his most popular albums, To Pimp a Butterfly, features “That Lady, pts. 1 &2” (1973) used in the track as the beat.

A tribe called Quest also did some sampling too. The song off of the third album Midnight Marauders, “electric relaxation” is sample from Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew.” (1972)

In a little more recent years, the 1970’s are still being sampled. In 2015, Drake released the song “Hotline bling,” which samples the 1972 song, “Why Can’t We Live Together” by Timmy Thomas. Drake’s song features the funky fun beat of Thomas’ song throughout his. Drake has also sampled Brook Benton’s “You Were Gone” (1976) in his 2022 track “Jimmy Cooks” featuring 21 Savage.

Metro Boomin, a music producer popularly known for his work with rappers, has also sampled music from the 70’s with his song “Feel the fiyaaaah” with A$AP Rocky. It samples “Feel the Fire” (1978) by Peabo Bryson with Metro’s own take on the song.

The relationship between Hip-hop and the music of the 1970’s is incredibly creative and reconstructed beautifully. It shows the timelessness of the 70’s and how it’s made an impact on the world of music. While carried forward by the beats and rhythms of the 70’s, the talents of today are showcasing amazing work. As the years go on, let the inspiration continue to come from the disco decade.


Written by: Cayla Soriano

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