Whitney Houston: 7 Rap Songs That Sample the Legendary Powerhouse

Whitney Houston
Ron Bull/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Whitney Houston performs in Canada on Aug. 22, 1986.

The musical legacy of late singing legend Whitney Houston stretches far beyond the pop realm. A bevy of Nippy's hits have been sampled over the years for hip-hop tracks that are just as catchy and unforgettable as their source material.

Here are seven rap cuts that all benefited from Houston's flair, from mainstream smashes to underground mixtape jams.

Whitney Houston Hit: “I Have Nothing”

Sampled in: French Montana “Bend You Over”

Maybe it’s not the most loving tribute to Houston but it sure goes hard. This 2014 French Montana track samples Houston’s 1992 hit from her landmark soundtrack to The Bodyguard. Weaving in bits of "I Have Nothing," "Bend You Over" skews crass ("Can I? Oh, come over and bend you over? We could do it all night, we could do it all night," raps French) but gets a touch of class from the Whitney sample.

Whitney Houston Hit: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)"

Sampled in: Natalie La Rose and Jeremih “Somebody”

One of the most radio-friendly smashes to ever borrow from from Houston’s immense catalog, Natalie La Rose and Jeremih’s hip-pop track “Somebody” is an energetic ode to the icon's 1987 hit yet holds its own as a fresh dance-floor jam. While the original was a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 in 1987 (and won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance to boot), Natalie and Jeremih’s pop opus peaked at No. 10.

Whitney Houston Hit: “I Will Always Love You”

Sampled in: Theophilus London “Love Always”

The original will not only go down as Whitney Houston’s brightest musical moment, but as one of the most impressive vocal performances of all time. Rapper Theophilus London tries to channel the track’s magic for "Love Always" off his 2009 set dubbed This Charming Mixtape. Blending Houston’s smooth vocals, a pulsating beat, and London’s spitfire rhymes, the song pleases fans of pop, hip-hop and house.

Whitney Houston Hit: “I Have Nothing”

Sampled in: Drake “Tuscan Leather” 

Drizzy’s spin on Houston’s "I Have Nothing" for the Nothing Was The Same cut was produced by longtime collaborator Noah "40" Shebib, and features October’s Very Own’s spitting: "This is nothin' for the radio, but they'll still play it though." In 1993, the powerhouse original peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100.

Whitney Houston Hit: "All the Man That I Need"

Sampled in: G Money “Nothing But the Truth”

One of the more obscure entries on this list, Houston’s pipes can be heard assiting this 2012 underground G Money jam. Houston’s original version "All the Man That I Need" was a No. 1 hit on the charts upon its 1990 release, as part of her album I’m Your Baby Tonight, and was in fact a cover of a 1982 track by Linda Clifford.

Whitney Houston Hit: “I Will Always Love You”

Sampled in: Estelle "Freak" Feat. Kardinal Offishall

Perhaps best known for her Kanye West-assisted hit "American Boy," Estelle collaborated with rapper Kardinall Offishall for "Freak," a wild romp that also features a trippy beat and elements from Soul II Soul's "Back to Life." Even more mind-bending is the track's space-y video

Whitney Houston Hit: "You Give Good Love"

Sampled in: The Game "Life"

Peaking at No. 5 in 1985, "You Give Good Love" is featured on The Game's Documentary 2.5 album in the form of a sample on the hard-hitting "Life." Here, Jayceon Taylor also gives Houston a shout out, rapping, "We gon' get up out this motherf--ker/ Same way that Venus did, Serena did, we them kids/ Whitney was talking 'bout that's how it was/ Before my brother caught them slugs and I watched coroners."


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