Hip Hop’s Best Michael Jackson Samples + His Impact To The Culture

Michael Jackson performing in red leather jacket
(Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

On July 25, 2009 Michael Jackson shocked the world when he suddenly passed away twelve years ago.

Preparing for the This Is It tour, his first major tour since HIStory in 1997, Jackson was to embark on the last musical journey of his life, and bring us all to our childhood once again.

Instead, days before the tour was to begin Jackson suffered cardiac arrest and passed away, shocking millions and millions of his fans.

Jackson’s music was an inspiration for generations! Not only yourself, but your parents, and even possibly their parents all grew up listening to the sounds of MJ whether it was with the Jackson 5, or listening to projects such as Ben, Off The Wall, Bad, Dangerous, or HIStory or even This Is It.

His music has transcended through different genres. Including hip hop. In 1991, he was looking for a brand new flavor to add to his music. That’s when he hired Teddy Riley to produce the classic album Dangerous using the then popular sounds of New Jack Swing.

Jackson’s influence in hip hop throughout the years has grown as we keep his music alive through samples. Artists such as Jay Z, to Nas, to Fabolous, to Jadakiss has at one time or another sample the King of Pop or at least one time or another Moonwalked through the kitchen.

We can’t forget that day in 2001 when Michael Jackson surprised the HOT 97 Summer Jam crowd at MetLife Stadium as part of Jay-Z’s historic performance before he closed out the show with the “ABC” sampled track “Izzo (HOVA).”

Everyone still remembers the day he passed away like yesterday. As for myself, I just sat down on the barbers chair, getting my weekly haircut when my phone made that sound.

Ding! “Did you head about MJ?”

Then another. Ding! “Are you ok?”

What is going on? “MJ was rushed to the hospital, rumors are that he’s dead.” The haircut stopped suddenly, and we both stared visual of Wolf Blitzer pops up on the television on CNN as he carefully combs through information. Then came the final words.

“[Michael Jackson] has died.”

Suddenly, the phone started ringing. Ten minutes passed the cut had not started back up yet. All we could talk about was how MJ impacted our lives, and our childhood as we sang and danced to all of his records.

Although he passed away years ago, his legacy is still going strong. L.A. Reid recently released an album full of unreleased and re-produced tracks from the legend titled Xscape. He also made an appearance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards through a hologram to perform “Slave to the Rhythm” (which we must say was one of the weirdest and non-authentic things ever seen.)

But his music lives on as much more.

Many of us of different age groups have at least one childhood memory including the music of Michael Jackson. Whether you tried to perform the dance from “Thriller,” leaned all the way forward like MJ on “Smooth Criminal” until you fell on your face, or stood in the kitchen with socks on practicing the perfect Moonwalk.

Jackson has influenced Hip-Hop in many ways, including samples being included on songs like LL Cool J’s “Hey Lover,” Jay-Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”, and Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.”

Let’s also not forget the New Jack Swing inspired album Dangerous, which included features from Heavy D, and the Jay-Z assisted remix of “You Rock My World.”

Jackson has reshaped the way we listened to music for a many generations. Our grandparents listened to ABC. Our parents grew up listening to Thriller. We heard Dangerous. The new generation hears Xscape. He is one of the few rare artists that can span four generations of people. From DJ’s to dancers, to artists, there is not one person who is involved in music that can say that Michael Jackson did not influence them. Whether he was black…or white.

Re-live & enjoy the career of the late singer with some of our favorite videos, and sampled hip hop tracks below.

MJ Music Videos

MJ Samples

HOT 97 & WBLS Family Remembers Michael Jackson