4 Tracks That Prove David Bowie’s Influence on Hip-Hop

By Sameer Rao Jan 11, 2016

Although David Bowie was celebrated for his influence on rock and fashion, his music also helped lay the grounds for some of hip-hop’s best tracks. 

The legendary British musician passed yesterday, January 10, after an 18-month battle with cancer. Although he was only 69 at the time of his death, his influence on pop culture at large stretched far past the rock and pop genres with which he is most-associated. 

Bowie, despite his flirtations with Aryan symbolism, was an early advocate for artists of color in the age of music videos. Likewise, hip-hop recognized his immense artistry, and his music was used in a number of notable hip-hop tracks (not including "Ice Ice Baby," which we won’t bring up again). Here are but four of the best examples of Bowie’s music, immortalized (as noted by WhoSampled.com) in the DNA of hip-hop classics:

Public Enemy, "Night of the Living Baseheads"

The song’s hook samples Bowie’s "plastic soul" hit "Fame." 


Jay-Z, "Takeover"

This track, an early high note for a little producer named Kanye West, also used "Fame" among classic rock tracks to ground HOV’s damning hits at Mobb Deep and Nas. 


Puff Daddy ft. Notorious BIG and Mase, "Been Around The World"

Puffy and crew’s ode to the good life drew heavily from the instrumental to Bowie’s funky "Let’s Dance."


J. Dilla ft. Guilty Simpson, "Take Notice"

This postmously-released Dilla track used the beat from "Soul Love."


Oh, and for good measure, here’s a video of D’Angelo covering "Space Oddity."



Did we miss your favorite David Bowie sample? Let us know in the comments!

(H/t BBC, WhoSampled.com, Tech Insider