B.B. King’s death was mourned by the world today (May 15).
King, a singer and guitarist who transcended genres and influenced people of all ages, has been and will continue to be an inspiration for musicians across styles. His influence in hip-hop, for example, was strong.
The accomplished and iconic star’s work has been sampled on tracks by some of rap’s greatest MCs (including Kendrick Lamar). And he’s been named in songs by some of the genre’s best, including Big K.R.I.T., a rapper who actually recorded a song with the late great legend.
Here’s a list of some of the instances where King’s influence has been seen in rap music.
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘m.A.A.d. City’
This good kid, m.A.A.d. city standout, where Kendrick Lamar and MC Eiht team up to describe their harsh realities over a potent instrumental, features an interpolation of “Chains and Things.”
MF Doom’s ‘Kon Karne’
"Whoever do get to see me sing / With the 3-D ring / Sittin' stationary like B.B. King / Can see how it really sting."
Ice Cube’s ‘A Bird In The Hand’
The classic Death Certificate cut, which showcases Ice Cube's extraordinary storytelling, features a sample of “Chains and Things.”
"You've been arrested for lyric fraud / Now you barred / For real, check it, I pull strings like B.B. King on guitar."
50 Cent’s ‘The Mechanic’
50 Cent and Tony Yayo are a dynamic duo. This forceful cut features both aggressive MCs rhyming over a “Chains and Things” sample.
Rittz’s ‘Backroom’ Freestyle
"They be rooting for me on the T.V screen / White, got soul like I’m B.B. King / A rock star like I’m B. Springsteen.”
UGK’s ‘Ain’t That A Bitch’
UGK and Devin The Dude delivered a smooth track with "Ain't That A Bitch," a cut that samples King's "Chains And Things." The song allows the MCs to address several topics, including the government and low-income issues.
Action Bronson’s ‘Buddy Guy’
Bronsolino uses this "Sweet Thing" sample-laced beat to flex his fluid flow on "Buddy Guy."
Masta Ace’s ‘Style Wars’
This classic Masta Ace track uses a sample from one of King’s most beloved tracks, "The Thrill Is Gone" as Ace showcases the punchline prowess that's influenced MCs like Eminem.
B.B. King's ‘Keep It Coming’
The track was a collaboration with Heavy D for Deuces Wild. "It's Heav' D and B.B. King," Heavy rhymes. "Doing our thing / Watch me swing."
Wale’s ‘Walk N Live’
An angry Wale ferociously flows over this “Chains And Things” sample.
Big Daddy Kane’s ‘Who Am I’
Big Daddy Kane, commonly referred to as one of the greatest MCs of all time, uses "Who Am I" to showcase his incredible raps by providing a history lesson in rhyme form over a sample of "Ain't Nobody Home."
RZA’s ‘Can’t Lose’
RZA and Beretta 9 linked up for a soulful banger. "Can't Lose" features a smooth sample of "Chains and Things.”
A$AP Rocky’s ‘1 Train’
Big K.R.I.T.: "B.B. King saw the king in me, so why can't you?"
Big K.R.I.T.’s ‘Praying Man
The cut features the late great B.B. King. Today, K.R.I.T. explained how working with King in the studio "blew his mind." The track is a remarkable example of how King's Blues and hip-hop's soul meshed well.
R.I.P. B.B. King