David Robert Jones. The Goblin King. The Thin White Duke. David Bowie. Last night, the enigmatic and massively influential rock star passed away after an 18-month long battle with cancer. Hearts broke along with the news, and today we are starting to really grasp the magnitude of Bowie’s reach.
Not just an influence for one genre, Bowie was an innovator of production, diversity, and style for an artist of any medium. His fingerprint can be found directly in many of hip-hop songs through the use of samples, and today we are going to look at the Top 3 David Bowie Hip-Hop Samples.
Sampled Work: David Bowie – Let’s Dance
End-Result: Diddy – Been Around The World ft. B.I.G. and Mase
After a short listen, it ain’t hard to tell how Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” was the the blueprint for Diddy’s 1997 hit.
Sampled Work: David Bowie – Soul Love
End-Result: J Dilla ft. Guilty Simpson – Take Notice
Another fallen legend, J-Dilla took the short-lived but hard-hitting opening drums to Bowie’s “Soul Love”, laid some hypnotizing melodic synths over them, and crafted this banger.
Sampled Work: David Bowie – Fame
End-Result: Jay-Z – Takeover
Heard at 1:02 in Bowie’s hit “Fame”, the stylistic hook was used in Jay-Z’s famous diss track at 2:32 to talk about how laaaaaaaaaame his foes were. While not the most complex or technical use of a Bowie sample, it is one of the most cited and effective uses of his work.
Today, jam these songs – the originals and the end-results – and honor one of the most influential figures in music and art. Rest In Peace David Bowie.