Popular Samples in Rap Music: Songs That Sample “Slick Rick”
Uncle Mike, can you tell us a bedtime story? Heeeeeeeere we go.
Once upon a time not long ago, Slick Rick was a groundbreaking, story-telling genius of a rap artist, exploding in 1985 with his influential, beat-boxed story rap, “La Di Da Di.” Later, in 1986, Rick signed to Def Jam, where he would release his 1988 debut, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, which featured the hit single, “Children’s Story.” Both “La Di Da Di” and “Children’s Story” are gems in Rick’s work, as well as hip-hop and music in general, since they told vivid stories with spot on vocal characterization long before any rapper embodied that style.
If Rick wasn’t highly influential, his work—notably “La Di Da Di” and “Children’s Story”—was over-sampled. Over 600 songs sample or interpolate Rick’s music, and this following article will discuss few of those numerous samples and interpolations… as we go a little something like this. HIT IT!!
Beastie Boys – “Hold It Now, Hit It” (1986)
The Beasties released their best-selling rap album, License To Ill, only one year after “La Di Da Di” broke mainstream. It contained, “Hold It Now, Hit It,” a song obtaining its title from two of its audible samples, “Hold It Now” from Kurtis Blow on “Christmas Rappin,” then “Hit It” from Rick’s “La Di Da Di.” (Did I mention the Beastie Boys “like to party”? They fought for that right.)
NWA – “Gangsta Gangsta” (1988)
This song is soooo full of samples. Between “Impeach the President” by The Honeydrippers and “Funky Worm” by The Ohio Players, you’ll hear “as we go a little something like this” from Rick’s “La Di Da Di.”
Snoop Dogg – “La Di Da Di” (1993)
Snoop, a passionate fan of Slick Rick, covers “La Di Da Di” on his 1993 debut Doggystyle. Only he changes a few words while leaving Rick’s story unmodified.
Montell Jordan – “This Is How We Do It” (1995)
Montell Jordan had a massive hit in the mid-’90s you’ll still recognize today. You know this song’s beat? It’s borrowed from Rick’s “Children’s Story.” To pay greater homage to Rick, Montell even raps his own version of the opening bars of “Children’s Story.”
Eminem – “Quitter” (2000)
With this song, Eminem disses former House of Pain frontman Everlast, opening with a flip on the beginning of “La Di Da Di,” “To all my fans keeping y’all in health…”
Eminem – “Cani-B****” (2003)
Em is still not done. While dissing rapper Canibus in this upbeat track, he impersonates the opening high voice in Rick’s “Children’s Story,” saying, “Uncle Marshall, can you tell us a bedtime story,” instead of “Uncle Ricky.”
Black Eyed Peas – “Don’t Lie” (2005)
BEP released this acoustic-guitar-laced pop track about liars in ’05, 20 years after the world was introduced to “La Di Da Di.” To stick with the song’s concept, and subliminally commemorate the 20-year anniversary (I’m definitely overthinking), the Peas sample Doug E Fresh’s utterance of “stop lying” from “La Di Da Di.”
The Game – “Compton Story” (2008)
Game pays plenty of homage to Rick in his 2008 story of living in Compton, including the “uncle” opening, Rick’s British accent (which Game does quite well), and saying he played Slick Rick in his car during this story.
Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop” (2013)
Back when Miley’s tongue was a WMD (weapon of mass distraction), she released “We Can’t Stop.” You love this song. STOP LYING! (JK) But… where’s the Slick Rick sample? It’s an interpolation… in the hook. “Ladadi dadi. We like to party.” (The difference between the message conveyed in “We Can’t Stop” and “La Di Da Di” is the fact that “dancing with Molly” actually causes trouble and bothers people.)
There are certainly other songs sampling Slick Rick that I didn’t cover with this article. I still hope you got a kick out of my take on the songs I did mention here.
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