Happy Birthday, Lauryn Hill! 9 Songs That Sample L Boogie
Lauryn Hill is to hip-hop as a gardener is to soil. The rapper/singer planted classic gems in her catalog -- especially her pristine 1998 debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill -- that have become samples for many rap game MVPs, including Kanye West, Busta Rhymes and Method Man.
The First Lady of the Fugees has permeated the culture for 20 years and continues to perform around the globe. Whether bumping tracks from her time alongside Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel or her solo ventures, there's no denying L-Boogie's versatility. In honor of Hill's 42nd birthday Friday (May 26), here are nine songs that feature her timeless tracks.
"All Falls Down," Kanye West
Song Sampled: "Mystery of Iniquity" (MTV Unplugged No. 2.0)
Kanye West called in Syleena Johnson to re-create Ms. Hill’s vocals for the chorus of this 2004 classic from his debut album, The College Dropout. “Oh, when it all, all falls down/ I’m telling you all, it all falls down,” sings Johnson, mimicking the passion and strain of Hill’s voice on “The Mystery of Iniquity” from her emotional MTV Unplugged set. West reached out to Hill for clearance to sample the song, but she rescinded her approval at the last minute, and forced the Chicago native to improvise. "All Falls Down" was the third single West released for 2004's The College Dropout, which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Draft Day," Drake
Song Sampled: "Doo Wop (That Thing)" (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)
The Canadian MC interpolates Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" from her critically acclaimed debut. Similar to how Hill calls out the disingenuous behavior of men and women in love and life, Drizzy name-drops several notable figures on the 2014 Soundcloud freebie including then-Cleveland Browns quarterback Jonny Manziel and actress Jennifer Lawrence plus a potential indirect jab shot at Jay Z.
"Cole Summer," J. Cole
Song Sampled: "Nothing Even Matters" (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)
“Cole Summer” was released on Truly Yours 2, a six-song snack meant to hold fans over until the release of J. Cole’s sophomore album Born Sinner. Sampling the beat from the New Jersey native’s “Nothing Even Matters" featuring D'Angelo, Cole kicks up the tempo, breathing new life into the then-15-year-old song. The North Carolina rapper spends just under five minutes dropping honest and wildly witty bars about his trajectory in the industry and hopes for the future of his career.
"Real One," Fabolous
Song Sampled: “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (The Score)
Fabolous gave his 2015 mixtape Summertime Shootout a throwback vibe with this Fugees joint. Fab spits about the streets and situationships as Hill croons in the background. While it samples vocals from “Killing Me Softly With His Song” from the Fugees' last studio album The Score, the Brooklyn MC also borrows the cadence of the chorus from Hill’s “Lost Ones” for the repetitious hook "You might have had some, but you need a real one."
"Can I Holla At Ya," J. Cole
Song Sampled: "To Zion" (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)
Jermaine Cole returns with a quality Lauryn Hill sample. The intro track on Truly Yours contrasts from what was essentially Hill’s love letter to her first child, Zion. As the instrumental from “To Zion” plays throughout the song, Cole unravels narratives of complicated relationships. This song tackles brutal realities of letting others into your heart, including old friends and wannabe father figures.
"Say," Method Man
Song Sampled: “So Much Things To Say” (MTV Unplugged No. 2.0)
Dropping a beat behind Lauryn Hill’s acoustic cover of Bob Marley’s “So Much Things To Say,” Method Man goes off on anyone questioning his flow. Appearing on his fourth studio album 4:21…The Day After, “Say” showcases Wu-Tang Clan MC's lyrical skill set. He places Hill on the hook and drops lines such as “Damn, another artist chokes again/ They ain’t cut as close as him or even broke the skin” to inform hip-hop acts and aficionados that despite having "so much things to say," his talents are indisputable.
"Get High Rule The World," Lil Wayne
Song Sampled: “If I Ruled The World” (It Was Written by Nas)
In “Get High Rule The World,” from his 2007 project Da Drought 3, Lil Wayne boasts his love for money and Mary Jane. Weezy not only samples the beat, but also remixes Hill’s feature on Nas’ “If I Ruled The World,” making the inspirational song more relevant to his lifestyle: “Get high, screw the world, and that’s that/ I need all my funds, yeah, all my money baby/ Black diamonds and pearls, believe that/ I made bling bling and my chest look like a mural/ I’m nuts, just call me Squirrel.”
"Nas Album Done," DJ Khaled
Song Sampled: “Fu-Gee-La” (The Score by Fugees)
Speaking of Nas, the Queens native teamed up with DJ Khaled for “Nas Album Done,” which samples the melodic “ooh la la la” of the Fugees’ “Fu-Gee-La” throughout. After the album dropped, Khaled posted a letter to Ms. Hill on Instagram, thanking her for allowing him to use her “angelic voice,” and shared that he played “To Zion” to his son Asahd’s mother’s then-pregnant belly. Hill responded to his message on Twitter, and thanked him for “blessing the chune.” Khaled earned his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with his 2016 album Major Key.
"Hello," Busta Rhymes
Song Sampled: “Ready or Not” (The Score by Fugees)
Busta Rhymes tricks out the beat from “Ready or Not” by Fugees for this Chance the Rapper-assisted track from his 2015 project The Return of the Dragon. Chano eases into his lengthy verse with a lyric from the Lauryn Hill-sung chorus of the song. The overall message of the song plays on traces of the Fugees original as these wordsmiths make it clear that their talent will find listeners and turn them to fans, whether they're ready or not.