If you’re in the entertainment business, in any fashion, it’s safe to say Quincy Jones has had some influence on you. From creating some of the most memorable music in history to founding one of hip hop’s most loved magazines, Quincy Jones has done it all.
In celebration of his birthday (March 14th), we decided to dish out the Top Ten Quincy Jones samples in hip hop songs.
10. Jodeci – Get On Up
When Jodeci released their third single from ‘The Show, The After Party, The Hotel’, many didn’t catch the portion of Quincy’s 1981 track, “Velas,” a single off of the landmark album, ‘The Dude.’ Dalvin Degrate used the harmonica solo and other minor quirks of Jones’ jazz groove to make “Get On Up” sound richer. Anchored by a funky bassline and knocking drums, “Get On Up” helped Jodeci go platinum in a mere two months in 1995.
9. Jurassic 5 – Improvise
Jurassic 5 broke on the scene in 1997 as the group bringing back true school hip hop. As the second single from their debut EP, “Improvise” mixed samples from Albino Gorilla and our man, Q. Quincy’s theme song for the 1972 comic caper film, The Hot Rock, was jacked. The group’s understated use of this old theme song proved they were trying to move into the future without losing sight of the past.
8. The Roots – Clones
The album, ‘Illadelph Halflife,’ was a departure for the crew from Philly. They went for a darker sounding record than ‘Illadelph’s’ predecessors. “Clones” served as The Roots’ first appearance in the top five of the hip hop charts back in ’96. Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson transformed a sexy jazz number evoking the feeling of July in New York City into an ill rap tune about not conforming to society’s images and remaining your true self.
7. 2Pac ft. K-ci & JoJo – How Do U Want It
2Pac has always had the talent of smoothly injecting serious statements into fun party songs. On his number one single, “How Do U Want It,” Pac lays the smack down on C. Deloris Tucker, while trying to get into shortie’s cut off jean shorts. Producer, Johnny J, flipped Quincy’s 1974 bedroom jam, “Body Heat,” into a salacious tune for wannabe macks approaching women in the club. Listen to these two records and you’ll see why women would rather be with an old school mack than these new age “pimps.”
6. LL Cool J ft. Boyz II Men – Hey Lover
Jones’ personal recordings haven’t been the only tracks sampled from his vast catalouge. His collaborations with Michael Jackson have been sampled a fair share of times. One of the most memorable is Uncle L’s ode to crushes. The Trackmasters lifted and looped the introduction of Quincy and MJ’s romantic, “The Lady In My Life,” to continue on with LL’s rap Lothario persona. Boyz II Men add smoothed out vocals to every around the way girl’s favorite summer love song.
5. Juelz Santana – Mic Check
Juelz Santana has never lacked confidence. When he dropped his second album, he crowned himself as what the game was missing. Back with avengance, Santana needed an anthem to match the aggression he was coming with. Neo Da Matrix added Quincy’s theme from the “Roots” mini-series so fans and other rappers knew how hard Juelz was coming. He might have sold the least, but he managed to be most feared by most emcees. See what a Quincy Jones sample and a little aggression will do for you?
4. Kanye West ft. T-Pain – Good Life
Chicago’s native son is no stranger to sampling. The Louie Vuitton Don borrowed a few portions of Jones’ work on the Thriller jam, “P.Y.T.” If you listen closely, you can hear Michael Jackson in the background cooing,”Aww, baby.” The fact Kanye made it on this list is laugh worthy, considering the founder of Vibe Magazine dissed Mr. West by saying he was “just a rapper.” Quincy, tell us what’s good. Why ‘Ye only got a problem when you in the hood?
3. Ludacris – #1 Spot
Ludacris is consistently one of the most underrated emcees in the game. His 2004 album, The Red Light district, featured some of his most animated rhymes to date. The DJ Green Lantern produced “#1 Spot” is a prime example. Based on the dudes’ “Soul Bossa Nova,” made famous by the Austin Powers movies, Ludacris sent warning shots to any foe standing in his way with a smile. Sidebar: the Bill O’Reilly diss was too official.
2. Mobb Deep – Shook Ones Part II
Mobb Deep’s infamously dark delivery and hardcore street tales have made them one of the most critically acclaimed rap groups hip hop has seen. On the classic, The Infamous, Havoc sampled a frightening fragment of a cool Quincy record, “Kitty With The Bent Frame,” to give “Shook Ones Part II” the element of danger it needed to match the duo’s storytelling. Prodigy and Havoc let all the killers and hundred dollar billers know theyweren’t Wu-Tang, but they weren’t “nothin’ to f*ck wit” either.
1. The Pharcyde – Passin Me By
Released in 1993, “Passin Me By” found the four member crew recounting stories of school boy crushes that end in heartbreak. Producer, J-Swift sampled “Summer In The City” for this classic. “Passin Me By” will forever resonate because there will always be some guy sprung over a female. By the way, our number eight selection shares the sample. Can you hear them in both records? what’s the difference between the uses of the two songs?