Music genres have always borrowed from each other because the magic and science of sound are interconnected. Styles of singing, instrument playing, production and more have been modified over the years, bent and transformed into whatever they needed to be to create a masterpiece at the time. Hip-hop as a genre has benefitted largely from sampling sounds of the past while also totally reimagining what sampling sounds like today. At first, sampling was vocal and instrumental clips of songs that were chopped and reused on another track. Over time, that evolved into changing the pitch and reworking the sounds entirely, which has become part of rap's evolution. Throughout hip-hop's history, there are a lot of well-known rock songs that get sampled in some of the genre's best music, becoming integral parts of beloved rap songs.
Back in 2000, Cam'ron dropped the single "What Means The World To You," from his album, S.D.E. (Sports, Drugs & Entertainment). The song's pace and laidback vibe coupled with Cam's technical talents and fast-paced rapping gave the track a "pull and push" feeling. The vibe he landed on with "What Means The World To You" wouldn't work the same if it wasn't for a sample of a guitar riff from The Police's 1978 hit "Roxanne." Blending rock and rap wasn't a new idea in 2000, but the way it was used so perfectly here by producer Armando Colon cast Cam'ron in a new light. A lyrically strong rapper who could also cook up radio records.
Two years later, Eminem released his fourth album, The Eminem Show, which features the song "’Till I Collapse" with Nate Dogg. The track, a menacing lyrical exercise with a very familiar sound clip, became one of Em's biggest songs ever despite never being a single. Throughout the track, the classic "boom boom clap" refrain from Queen's omnipresent hit, 1977's "We Will Rock You" is heard. Throughout decades, Queen's classic ode has been at nearly every sports game in some way, shape or form. For Eminem, who was already a huge act in his own right, taking a piece of that song and making a beat for his own that would be become so prominent makes all the sense in the world.
Check out the list below for more rap songs that sample classic rock tracks.