Friday Five: 5 Aretha Franklin Samples in Hip-Hop

Aretha Louise Franklin, The Queen of Soul, was one of the most distinct, powerful voices ever to grace a stage. Enjoying her career peak in the late 60s and early 70s during a period of social uprising, Aretha contributed to the soundtrack for the civil rights and women’s movements. Like many of the popular black artists of her time, her music provided much of the foundation of Hip-Hop in the form of samples. While she is physically gone from this world, she lives on through not only her music, but through those who sampled her music to bring new and creative life through song.

So here are my Top 5 Aretha Franklin samples in no particular order:

  1. Spirit in the Dark - Sampled for “School Spirit” by Kanye West
    *Sigh* I miss the old Kanye. Chop up the soul Kanye.

2. Call Me - Sampled for “Selfish” by Slum Village featuring Kanye West and John Legend
Probably the biggest mainstream hit SV ever had, thanks to the old Kanye. He really brought the underground to the mainstream.

3. Day Dreaming - Sampled for “Daydreaming” by Cam’ron
Killa! Remember when every rap album had to have “a track for the ladies”?

4. Young, Gifted, and Black - Sampled for “Laila’s Wisdom” by Rapsody
9th Wonder is one of the few producers still chopping up the soul samples after 2005.

5. One Step Ahead - Sampled for “Ms. Fat Booty” by Mos Def
Because I’m old, I’m the one writing this list, and this was my JAM back in the day!

What are your favorite Aretha samples? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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