All You Need is Hip-Hop: The Best Beatles-Influenced Rap Cuts
The country is currently transfixed by the bizarre #MannequinChallenge, soundtracked by the Rae Sremmurd party track "Black Beatles."
Serving as an ode to the rock star lifestyle, the Fab Four-referencing song currently holds the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and is the latest example in hip-hop''s lengthy history of saluting the success and influence of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
Here are seven other hip-hop tracks that have sampled or shouted out the Liverpool lads.
Kanye West, "Gorgeous"
Yeezy himself may have been the first to forge the idea of being a black Beatle in rap. For his track "Gorgeous" off 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West not only shouts out the Fab Four but alludes to their iconic smash, "Yesterday."
"They rewrite history, I don’t believe in yesterday," he rhymes. "What’s a black Beatle, anyway?" West would later collaborate with real-life Beatle Paul McCartney on his 2015 hit "FourFiveSeconds."
Frank Ocean, "White Ferrari"
It only makes sense that a track from Ocean’s Blonde, one of 2016's most hyped and lauded albums, features a cut from the iconic group. Sampling the Beatles' 1966 hit "Here, There, and Everywhere" from their landmark album Revolver, "White Ferrari" isn’t the only Beatles nod on Ocean's album. His track "Siegfried" also contains a sample of a lesser-known Beatles track, "Flying," an instrumental composition from their 1967 project Magical Mystery Tour.
Lil Wayne, "John"
John Lennon was one of the most influential singer-songwriters in musical history so it’s only fitting that one of the biggest names in rap immortalize the late artist in song. For his track "John," Wayne gives a salute to his legacy and tragic 1980 assassination by spitting, "If I die today, remember me like John Lennon."
Mac Miller, "Loud"
Appearing on the Beatles’ 1967 effort Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is one of the most fantastic Fab Four opuses, boasting an exploratory melody coupled with a psychedelic mood. For the opening of Mac Miller’s track "Loud," a cut from a his aptly named seventh mixtape Macadelic, he slid in a sample of the classic track’s haunting string riffs for maximum effect.
Run-D.M.C. "King of Rock"
In 1985, the influential Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, otherwise known as Run-D.M.C., hailed the Beatles on their track "King of Rock" with the lyric, "There's three of us/but we're not the Beatles." Rev Run mentioned in later interviews that he thought there were three Beatles. Unless it’s a knock on Ringo Starr, the allusion has been a head-scratcher since the track’s release, even landing a mention in LA Weekly's list of Most Illogical Rap Lyrics in History.
The Beastie Boys, "The Sounds of Science”
The Brooklyn trio was also an early adopter of Beatles references in rap. For their second studio album, 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, the Boys peppered a variety of Beatles flavor throughout, most notably their track "The Sounds of Science." With a title that alludes to fellow '60s powerhouse Simon and Garfunkel, the song borrows from the Fab Four’s short but powerful ditty "The End."
Wu-Tang Clan, "The Heart Gently Weeps"
As one of the earliest examples of a Beatles sample in hip hop, Wu-Tang's "The Heart Gently Weeps" borrows from the George Harrison-driven "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," originally released in November 1968. However, more than merely lifting the sample, the Clan actually called up Harrison’s son Dhani to lend his guitar talents to the track’s beat, elevating the song’s magic.