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10 amazing rap songs that sample Luther Vandross

Photos of Luther Vandross.
Luther Vandross. (Epic)

There are few better examples of sampling in hip-hop than Twista's 2004 smash hit, "Slow Jamz."


Produced by Kanye West and featuring Jamie Foxx on the hook, the song samples Luther Vandross' 1981 cover of Dionne Warwick's "A House Is Not a Home."


As Ye did on so many other songs he produced in the early '00s, he took a short section of the track, sped it up to sound like a chipmunk, looped it, and added some drums and bongos.


The result? A beautiful, soul-filled beat over which he, Twista, and Foxx could shine.


"Slow Jamz" isn't the only example of a great rap song which samples Vandross, however.


Here are nine more.


"Let Me Hold You" by Bow Wow feat. Omarion


Bow Wow's 2005 hit with Omarion "Let Me Hold You" samples Vandross' 1985 version of Brenda Russell's "If Only for One Night."


Produced by No I.D. and Jermaine Dupri, the song topped Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart for seven weeks.


Speaking about the song with Complex in 2011, No I.D. said: “It changed my whole way of thinking and how I produce. I had been making it so hard for myself, so I’m like, 'Damn, this isn’t that hard at all. I can do these types of records and it’s okay.’"



"It's Alright" by Saigon feat. Marsha Ambrosius


Featured on Saigon's 2011 debut album "The Greatest Story Never Told" – "It's Alright" is another Vandross-sampling track produced by Kanye West.


The song contains a sample of Vandross' cover of Delaney & Bonnie's "Superstar," which he released in 1983 as a medley with his cover of Stevie Wonder's "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)."


"Mind of a Souljah" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony


Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's 1997 double-album "The Art of War" was produced entirely by DJ U-Neek.


On "Mind of a Souljah," which is performed by Layzie Bone, Neek sampled Vandross' 1983 song "Promise Me."


"Sunshine (The Light)" by Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, and Amorphous


In late 2020, amateur music producer Amorphous went viral after posting a mashup of Vandross' "Never Too Much" and Rihanna's "Kiss It Better" on Twitter.


Shortly after, Fat Joe reached out to Amorphous on Instagram.


With the approval of both the Vandross estate and Rihanna, as well as some help from DJ Khaled, they then created "Sunshine (The Light)."


In a 2022 interview with Billboard, Amorphous said that when he first saw the message from Joe, he "thought it was a spam account."



"Comin' Up" by Pimp C feat. Z-Ro and Lil' Flip


Like Fat Joe's "Sunshine (The Light)," Pimp C's 2005 song "Comin' Up" also samples "Never Too Much."


However, rather than sampling the song's guitar riff like "Sunshine (The Light)," "Comin' Up" borrows and adapts the chorus.


"Bitch, I just don't wanna stop comin' up," it goes.


"Excuse Me Miss," by Jay-Z feat. Pharrell


The hook on Jay-Z and Pharrell's 2003 song "Excuse Me Miss" is taken directly from the chorus of Vandross' 2001 hit "Take You Out."


"Excuse Me Miss" proved to be the bigger hit of the two songs, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.


"Take You Out" only ever made it to No. 26.


"Got Me Waiting" by Heavy D & the Boyz


Heavy D & the Boyz went out with a bang in 1994 with the release of their fifth and final studio album "Nuttin' But Love."


The album sold over 1 million copies and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, making it their most commercially successful project ever.


Track number three on the album, "Got Me Waiting," contains a sample of Vandross' 1981 song "Don't You Know That?" from his debut album "Never Too Much."



"If I..." by Foxy Brown


1988's "Any Love" was one of Vandross' seven solo No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.


Foxy Brown sampled the track on 1996's "If I..." from her classic debut album "Ill Na Na."


The two stars would later team up in 2003 when Brown featured on Vandross' "If It Ain't One Thing" from his final studio album "Dance with My Father."


"Im In" by Beanie Sigel


In 2007, Beanie Sigel sampled one of Vandross' lesser-known songs, "Make Me a Believer," on his track "I'm In."


"Make Me a Believer," which features on Vandross' third studio album, "Busy Body," was released as a single in 1984 but failed to chart on the Hot 100.


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