Despite being originally rock in nature, some of the tracks below have in many ways become more important to hip hop than rock, while others are all time classics in both. Some have been sampled to death, while others date back to the infancy of hip hop with the original DJs cutting up their classic drum breaks for block parties and b-boys – in some cases even before rappers ever started rapping. This is by no means an exhaustive list either; this is just to give you a taste.
Rush – “Tom Sawyer”
My best personal example of this can be summed up from a card game I was playing with some friends a couple years back. This track came on (via a DJ mix cd) and the guys in the room who could be deemed as the most hip-hop were like “ahh yeah” and the guys in the room who had more rock tendencies were like “eww, I hate this track!” While there are certainly many rockers who love it, its funny to see how people can have such different experiences of the same song.
Jefferson Starship – “Rock Music”
There’s no explanation needed here beyond its inclusion in the Ultimate Breaks and Beats Series, which is essentially a collection of all the original jams played in the parks and clubs by founding hip hop DJs in NYC (i.e. the South Bronx and Uptown) in the 70s and 80s.
AC/DC – “Back in Black”
Sampled by the likes of Boogie Down Productions, the Beastie Boys, and others, as well as being playable to hip hop crowds on its own, this track is definitely classic status. That simple guitar riff and those drums make it both mixable and palettable to hip hop’s 4/4 beat and sample/looping sound.
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