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Rap hits you might not know sample the same song

Photos of Drake and Jay-Z in front of a meme.
Drake, Jay-Z. (Shutterstock/Brian Friedman/Franklin Sheard Jr.)

Some of rap music's most iconic-ever beats were made using samples.

Take, for example, Dr. Dre's classic, "The Next Episode," which samples "The Edge" by David McCallum.

Or Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones Part II," which samples Quincy Jones' "Kitty With the Bent Frame" from the soundtrack of the 1971 movie "Dollars."

Some samples are simply so good, they end up being used more than once. Did you know these rap hits sample the same song?

"Electric Relaxation" by A Tribe Called Quest/"Forbidden Fruit" by J. Cole feat. Kendrick Lamar

A great bass line is integral to any hip-hop track.

Thanks to Ronnie Foster's 1972 song "Mystic Brew" – both A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation" and J. Cole's "Forbidden Fruit" have that.

In an interview with NPR in 2013, Cole said he was inspired to make "Forbidden Fruit" after hearing "Electric Relaxation."

"I was like, 'Oh, man. What if?' You know what I mean? Like, 'What if I could just do it my way?'" he said. "You know what I mean? It's such a classic and people are so afraid to touch classics. And I was just like, 'What if I could flip it?' So I just went and found the original sample."

"Crumblin' Erb" by Outkast/"Mass Appeal" by Gang Starr

Outkast's "Crumblin' Erb" and Gang Starr's "Mass Appeal" both get their drums from EPMD's 1988 track "You're a Customer."

Listen carefully, and you'll recognize that the same drums were was also used in Mario Winans' 2004 hit "I Don't Wanna Know," as well as The Weeknd's 2022 cover of that song, "Creepin'."

Erick Sermon, one-half of EPMD, revealed earlier this year that he owns 4% of "Creepin'" because of the sample, which, thanks to the song's performance on streaming platforms, rakes him in an eye-watering $720,000 each year.

"Spring Water" by La the Darkman and Raekwon/"Heaven and Hell" by Kanye West

La the Darkman's "Spring Water" and Kanye West's "Heaven and Hell" both open with a snippet of 20th Century Steel Band's 1975 song "Heaven and Hell Is on Earth."

Most famously, the exact same snippet was also used as the opening to Jennifer Lopez's 2002 smash hit, "Jenny from the Block."

"Crush on You" by Lil' Kim feat. Lil' Cease and The Notorious B.I.G./"Down 4 U" by Ja Rule feat. Ashanti

Lil Kim's "Crush on You" and Ja Rule's "Down 4 U" were both big hits, with each peaking inside the top five on various Billboard charts upon their respective releases in 1997 and 2002.

The secret to their success? Both sampled the melody from the 1979 song "Rain Dance" by The Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Other songs to also sample "Rain Dance" include SWV's "Love Like This" (1997), Case's "If" (1999), and Juvenile, B.G., and Lil Wayne's "Ride or Die" (1997).

"Catch Me Outside" by Ski Mask the Slump God/"I'm That Bitch" by BIA and Timbaland

Missy Elliott's 1999 track "She's a Bitch" might not have been a big hit at the time of its release (it only reached No. 90 on the Billboard Hot 100), but the song has enjoyed a lasting legacy.

In recent years, the Timbaland-produced track has been sampled by several stars, including Ski Mask the Slump God on his platinum-selling 2017 hit "Catch Me Outside" and by BIA on her 2023 song "I'm That Bitch."

Most recently, Cardi B sampled "She's a Bitch" on her first solo effort since 2021, "Like What (Freestyle)."

"Song Cry" by Jay-Z/"When To Say When" by Drake

Jay-Z's "Song Cry" from his 2001 album "The Blueprint" samples Bobby Glenn's 1976 track "Sounds Like a Love Song."

Drake's 2020 song "When To Say When" also does the same.

But while both songs might use the same sample, they explore very different themes. On "Song Cry," Jay raps about the break down of a loving relationship, while on "When To Say When," Drake reflects on his rise to musical fame.


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