Jimi Hendrix is one of the legends who died at the young age of 27. Along with Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, and more, Hendrix was taken too early. Yet, he is also one whose music will live on for eternity, even though he was only recording and playing publicly for a few short years.
His music is so memorable and significant, it’s often sampled by other artists to bolster their own tunes, as evidenced below. Here, we see four rap songs that sampled the legendary rock guitar player.
1. “How High,” Redman & Method Man
Sampled “Purple Haze“
The 1995 song opens with Method Man sampling Hendrix, rapping, Excuse me, as I kiss the sky. The song, which is about getting stoned and is featured on the soundtrack of the movie of the same name (How High), which features the two rappers, is right to open with a nod to the psychedelic rocker who helped bring cannabis culture into the forefront back in the Flower Power decade. For those listening to rap in the ’90s and early 2000s, Meth & Red were truly something to behold. Check out the track here.
2. “Jimmy James,” Beastie Boys
Sampled “Foxy Lady“
Sticking with hip-hop, the trio of rappers known as the Beastie Boys sampled Hendrix in the song, “Jimmy James,” which was the opening track from their 1992 album, Check Your Head. (Don’t confuse the track with the lead guitar player from True Loves, of course.) The sample of Hendrix comes during the frenetic beat’s opening, you can hear Hendrix’s vibrating guitar usher in the song’s vocalists beautifully. The Hendrix track was also sampled by Chuck D in the song “No.”
3. “Joey Don’t Do It,” Fat Joe
Sampled “Hey Joe“
The connection here is obvious. Fat Joe — “Hey Joe.” The 2009 song doesn’t feature Hendrix singing, but it’s the song in his style and it’s unmistakable. The track from Fat Joe is especially solid. Energetic, heart-racing, and featuring stellar storytelling. Definitely worth a listen or ten.
4. “Wylin Out,” Mos Def, Diverse, Prefuse 73 (RJD2 Remix)
Sampled “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)“
The 2002 song samples Hendrix’s famous song, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” in its chorus. It’s a supreme example of an “underground” rap track. You can imagine the rappers coming to the studio, hoodies, and backpacks on, banging out the verses, and then going back out to see a show in Brooklyn. *Chef’s kiss*
Photo by Bob Baker/Redferns