Kendrick Lamar‘s latest album DAMN. is a triumph in many different ways and has sparked, once again, conversation about whether he is currently the greatest rapper alive — or of all time. But it also positions Kendrick as a lightning rod, and an acknowledged one; climbing to the top of the rap game in 2017 means mainstream attention from beyond the shifting parameters of genre, and with that comes broadcast news attention.
When Kendrick sampled Geraldo Rivera‘s withering comments about his 2015 BET Awards performance of “Alright” — a song that became an anthem during a period dominated by headlines surrounding policy brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement — on the opening track “Blood,” it was an ironic acknowledgement of both his stature as a public figure, and the lengths to which some will go to misunderstand his point of view, and his points in general. But it was also another in a long line of hip-hop artists who have used news reports, political speeches and television broadcasts within their songs to prove their own points, to address a topical concern or simply to acknowledge a cultural moment.
With DAMN. headed straight for the top of the Billboard 200 chart this week, here are 20 hip-hop songs that have sampled the news.
2pac, “Intro” (Me Against the World)
Kendrick Lamar, “Blood”
Nas, “Angels With Dirty Faces”
Jay Z feat. The-Dream, “Minority Report”
J. Cole, “See World”
Ice Cube, “Rollin’ Wit the Lench Mob”
T.I., “Act I: T.I.P.”
Rick Ross, “Shots Fired”
Snoop Dogg, “Intro” (Tha Doggfather)
Mobb Deep, “Intro” (Murda Muzik)
Killer Mike, “Reagan”
J. Cole, “No Role Modelz”
Wale, “The Eyes of the Tiger”
Public Enemy, “Can’t Truss It”
Jay Electronica, “Swagger Jackson’s Revenge”
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”
Miguel, “Beautiful Exit”
J. Cole, “Be Free”