Last week the world received the sad news that blues singer and musician B.B. King passed away at the age of 89. A 15-time Grammy Award winner, King’s impact on music is undeniable. Over a career that spanned six decades, the King of Blues built up a catalog that continues to live on and influence many musicians, including rappers. In the honor of his passing, Into The Urban looks back at a number of rap songs that sampled the sweet sounds of B. B. King.
Kendrick Lamar – m.A.A.d. City Ft. MC Eiht
The current King of Hip Hop Kendrick Lamar first made waves back in 2012 with his impressive debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city. Of the many standout tracks on an album that earned 5 Grammy Awards, m.A.A.d. City is the most hyped offering. Produced by Sounwave and THC, the MC Eiht-assisted track features a total of seven samples, including Kanye West’s We Major (2005) and B.B. King‘s Chains and Things.
Sir Mix-A-Lot – Square-Dance Rap
Square-Dance Rap served as a single on on the legendary Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1987 debut album Swass, which went on to achieve Platinum status. The upbeat track features a sample of B.B. King singing the chorus to his 1964 song Rock Me Baby.
Action Bronson – Buddy Guy
In 2011 Action Bronson released his first album dubbed Dr. Lecter. Entirely produced by Tommy Mas, the album includes mostly breakbeats and features samples from legends like Barry White, Dizzy Gillespie and Donny Hathaway. For one of the smoothest cuts on the album Buddy Guy, the New York emcee employs B.B. King’s vocals and guitar keys from Sweet Thing.
Big Daddy Kane – Who Am I
For his third studio album Taste of Chocolate, Big Daddy Kane sampled sounds from several soulful acts, including James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Sly & the Family Stone. For the self-produced album cut Who Am I, Blackanova sampled B.B. King‘s 1971 Ain’t Nobody Home.
Public Enemy – Air Hoodlum
In 1992 Public Enemy released the group’s first compilation album entitled Greatest Misses. The album featured remixes of previously released songs, live audio from a gig in the U.K. and six brand-new tracks. Air Hoodlum was one of those six new tracks and samples B.B. King’s biggest hit, The Thrill Is Gone.