Long Live Aretha Franklin: How Hip-Hop Channels the Queen of Soul


Ms. Aretha Franklin (AURN Image)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

When Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018, it was clear that the world would never be the same. Everything about Aretha Franklin from her interesting fashion choices, to her often shady antics and, her actual music, was iconic.

Thankfully, she left behind a prolific catalog spanning over the course of her 50 year career that inspired people when she was alive. At the same time, Aretha’s music will also live on and inspire new generations. We often commemorate icons by sampling their music or creating covers of their songs. We also immortalize their lives through film. Aretha, starring Jennifer Hudson will be in theaters on Friday, August 13 so it’s the perfect time to go through some of her classics that were sampled in hip-hop.

Aretha Franklin has dabbled in every form of popular music known to man, proving that all roads lead to soul.  Here’s a nod to eight times hip-hop sampled the Queen of Soul, featuring artists like Mos Def, Cam’Ron, Rapsody, Joey Badass and more.

Cam’ron ft. Tiffany – “Day Dreaming”

Cam’ron’s album, Come Home With Me (2002)  featured this gem produced by Ray Watkins, LeLan Robinson and Mike Thomas.

Aretha Franklin’s original version is from Young, Gifted and Black (1972), and it was produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Down, and Arif Mardin.

T.I. – Let’s Get Away

Jazze Pha produced this groove, released in 2003. It also samples “Day Dreaming.”

Joey Badass – “Summer Knights”

Chuck Strangers produced the Brooklyn MC’s 2013 cut that samples Aretha Franklin’s 1970 tune, “This Girl’s in Love With You.”

Mos Def – “Ms. Fat Booty”

Ayatollah produced “Miss Fat Booty,” which came out in 1999, back when Rawkus Records. was on the rise. Add Mos Def to the track and it’s almost like magic.

Slum Village ft Kanye West and John Legend – “Selfish”

Kanye West produced this 2004 ode to women around the United States.

Outkast – “Jazzy Belle”

You can thank Organized Noize for this 1996 tune which samples Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” one of Franklin’s most sampled songs.

Styles P, Pharoahe Monch – The Life

Ayatollah sure knows how to flip an Aretha Franklin sample. Styles P and Pharoahe Monch then turned up the heat.

Rapsody’s – “Laila’s Wisdom”

Nottz flipped Aretha Franklin’s version of “Young, Gifted and Black” into more fire. Rapsody’s rhymes are the chef’s kiss.

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