Pop Life

The 10 Best Rock Samples In Hip-Hop

Rocks Off just finished reading Ian Christe's 2007 Van Halen biography, Everybody Wants Some, which chronicles the band's history from the Van Halen boys' entry into the U.S., the upbringing of David Lee Roth, and devastating, fatal 1985 crash into Mount Sammy Hagar. Sad stuff if you're a Roth purist, like we are.

Another thing we read was that the band was one of the first rock groups (other than Aerosmith) to be sampled by a rap artist. Tone Loc's 1989 hit "Wild Thing" features the riff from Halen's 1978 classic-rock staple "Jamie's Cryin'." Milli Vanilli also sampled the same song, but they sucked. At least Tone Loc was in Blank Check, which makes him an infinitely better person.

Van Halen only chargeed a base rate for Loc to use that riff in his No. 2 pop hit, but after they saw how much money can be made with the right sampling skill, it got a lot more expensive to pilfer Eddie Van Halen's guitar prowess for rhyming purposes. Probably the second best use of a Van Halen sample was 2 Live Crew using "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" interpolated with The McCoys' "Hang On Sloopy" in "The Fuck Shop." Wholesome shit.

This whole thing got Rocks Off into a week-long odyssey looking into some other instances of rock bands as sampled in hip-hop, which brings us to this list of ten of our favorites. For a proto-metal band from Birmingham, England, you would be surprised how rap-friendly Black Sabbath is.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty