With today marking the 30th anniversary of the passing of the late Beatles‘ member John Lennon, SOHH provides a list of our top five rap songs which sampled the band’s renowned hits.
1. Lil Wayne – “Help”
In 2007, Lil Wayne’s Carter 3 Sessions mixtape sampled the Beatles’ 1965 film/soundtrack, Help!
The titular Beatles sample makes it unlikely that this track will ever get a real release, which is a shame since it’s probably the most honest 83 seconds in his discography. This is Wayne’s candid plea for assistance (and not just from his weed carriers). (NY Mag)
Most of the of Tha Carter 3 Sessions is more suitable as mixtape material. “How You Like Me Now” is a cool, laid-back track with a nice echoing vocal sample in the beat, “Scarface” is Wayne at his most aggressive, and “Help” finds Wayne sounding comfortable over a sampling of the Beatles’ record of the same name. Nonetheless, judging from the lack of quality hooks, Wayne is quite clearly in “practice” mode on these tracks; but the fact that his practice records sound better than some people’s real records should make expectations for Tha Carter 3 that much higher. (Metal Lungies)
2. Nas & Pitbull – “Imagine”
Circa 2003, Nas and producer Salaam Remi sampled John Lennon’s “Imagine” from his 1971 similarly-titled album.
Salaam Remi got Nas on a song with John Lennon’s “Imagine” as the sample and while they waited to get sample clearance from Yoko, the song somehow fell into Pitbull‘s lap and Pitbull released his own remix of it. Which you can hear above. (The 305)
3. Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh – “The Show”
In 1985, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh sampled The Beatles’ “Michelle” from their 1965 album, Rubber Soul, in order to create their hip-hop classic.
“The Show” by Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and The Get Fresh Crew sampled The Beatles’s “Michelle.” (Who Sampled)
4. Wyclef Jean & R. Kelly’s “Gone Till November” Remix
In 1998, off the success of his “Gone Till November” hit, Wyclef Jean and R.Kelly also used a portion of The Beatles’ “Michelle” from their 1965 album, Rubber Soul.
“Gone Till November (The Makin’ Runs Remix)” by Wyclef Jean feat. Canibus and R. Kelly sampled The Beatles’s “Michelle” (Who Sampled)
5. Talib Kweli’s “Lonely People”
In 2004, Talib Kweli released his The Beautiful Mixtape which utilized the haunting refrain from the Beatles’ popular “Eleanor Rigby” for the rapper’s song, “Lonely People”.
Brooklyn’s Talib Kweli, perhaps best known as Mos Def‘s other half in Black Star, has not had much trouble maintaining his indie cred despite his flirtation with the mainstream (check 2003’s “Get By”). But to prop up his third proper full-length, The Beautiful Struggle released in September on Rawkus, Kweli coyly slid out The Beautiful Mixtape as a precursor. This compilation is speckled with splendid guest appearances and invigorating samples, especially the grab of the Beatles’s “Eleanor Rigby,” which got this pulled from the shelves. (Prefix Mag)