Since his untimely passing, we’ve seen hours of David Bowie footage. My favourite was from 1993 when Bowie was interviewed by news vet Braynt Gumbel. In the interview, Bowie credited rappers with being “truly creative.”
The quality and significance of the social message has moved very much to the black and Hispanic market. And that’s where the new force of music is coming from. With black music, there’s a very strong social point to make. There’s a means of discovery and a purpose.
Hip Hop loved Bowie. It was proven it in the music:
Song: Night at the Living Baseheads – Public Enemy
Song: It Wasn’t Me, It Was the Fame – EPMD
Sample: Fame – The most sampled Bowie track. Public Enemy used it in Night of the Living Baseheads from their 1988 sophomore classic, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back EPMD would follow a year later, by sampling the song for their track, It Wasn’t Me, It was the Fame, from their 1989 release, Unfinished Business. Dr Dre would use it in his 1996 song, Fame, and later, Jay-Z sampled Bowie’s Fame in the 2001 joint, Takeover. ODB rapped over it on Dirty Run which was released on the late rappers 2005 posthumous mixtape, Osirus.
Song: Take Notice – J Dilla feat Guilty Simpson
Sample: Soul Love – It’s not surprising one music revolutionary would get inspiration from another music revolutionary. Dilla and David would’ve made wonderful music together. Only if J Dilla didn’t leave us in February 2006. Before Dilla left, he sampled the drams from Bowie’s Soul Love. Take Notice, featuring Detroit rapper, Guilty Simpson, was recorded in 2003 and was released on Dilla’s Ruff Draft album. We can now hope that David and Dilla are making beautiful music in the sky.
Song: Rapp Snitch Knishes – MF Doom
Sample: Space Oddity – Much like Dilla, Doom is one of the most creative minds in the game, and it’s no surprise that Doom sampled David Bowie. My favourite emcee, ever, rhymes beautifully over the Space Oddity sample. This Doom beat was his first single from the emcee’s sophomore drop.
Song: Been Around the World – Puff Daddy, Mase and The Notorious B.I.G.
Sample: Let’s Dance – There was another instance where (cough) an unnamed rapper (cough) ripped off a Bowie beat to make his pop hit sore to number 1. Bowie made it a hit. The song itself was terrible. Here’s another case. Puffy stole Bowie’s classic Let’s Dance to propel Been Around the World to the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Rap Tracks and Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts.