There’s nothing quite like nostalgia. Just about anything can trigger a memory of your younger years, whether it’s a picture, a fire ’fit or, as often happens, a song. Music, especially hip-hop, is connected so close to memory that the two go hand in hand; the songs you liked at a certain age serve as the soundtrack for plenty of memories. Adulting is great (OK, sometimes it sucks), but looking back to the carefree days of being a teenager is special. Luckily for hip-hop fans, the era where songs of yesteryear are being reworked and presented in a brand new fashion is happening now. There are plenty of rap tracks over the last few years that sample these songs from the past, and it’s time to highlight some of the best.
It wouldn’t be fair not to show Saweetie some love when considering she had hit songs in back-to-back years that sampled rap songs from the past. She caught fire with “My Type” in 2019, which samples Petey Pablo’s name-dropping 2003 club classic “Freek-A-Leek.” For rap fans who were born between 1984 and 1990, you’d be between 13 to 18 years old when “Freek-A-Leek” came out. In 2020, Saweetie did it again with “Tap In,” which flips Too $hort’s 2006 smash song “Blow The Whistle.” Fans born between 1987 through 1993 remember that song well. Saweetie’s catalog is more than samples, of course, but she made these two tracks work for her in a very specific way. Also, it can’t just be any song that gets sampled—it has to be something that was beloved in order for it to work.
While it’s the ultimate sign of paying homage when a newer rapper samples or interpolates an older rapper’s track for a new record, it isn’t always rap songs that are getting sampled. 2 Chainz‘s “Rule The World” featuring Ariana Grande reworks Amerie’s 2002 spring love song “Why Don’t We Fall In Love.” Hip-hop loyalists with birthdays between 1983 and 1989 know that track all too well. Jack Harlow and his good friend Bryson Tiller made “Thru The Night,” which directly samples Usher’s 2002 banger “U Don’t Have To Call,” a song that was inescapable in its time. 1980s and early 1990s babies know Ursh was everywhere back then.
Hip-hop stars are finding new ways to honor the good ol’ days with throwback samples, and there is power in the familiarity with that. Check out These Hip-Hop Songs That Sample Your Favorite Tracks as a Teenager.