Five Songs That Sample Rush

Geddy Lee of Rush performs part of the bands' Time Machine Tour at Sleep Train Pavilion on June 26, 2011 in Concord, California. June 2012. Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings

This week marks Rush’s first studio album in five years, Clockwork Angels, and it arrives at a unique point in the long-lived Canadian power trio’s career. Having long weathered the slings and arrows of prog-haters outraged by sci-fi concept suites like “2112” and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart’s philosophical musings, Rush has outlasted the naysayers. Not only has their aesthetic been embraced for some time now by everyone from Cartman to Coheed and Cambria, the irresistibly ingratiating 2010 documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage helped endear Peart, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson to those who hardly knew anything of the band beyond “Tom Sawyer” or “Limelight.” In other words, Rush — once the world’s biggest cult band — has somehow become a North American institution. To show just how deeply Rush’s influence has embedded itself into our culture, let’s look to one of the furthest frontiers affected by the arty-but-intense rock & roll realm where Rush reigns supreme, examining five songs built around samples from the band’s kingly catalog.

1. Chespirito, “Los Astronautas”

The first and possibly strangest song to sample a Rush track, this goofy 1976 ditty by famed Mexican comedian/singer Roberto Gomez Bolanos opens with the spacey electronic effects that are found at the beginning of the “2112” suite, which was released mere months earlier.
2. Mellow Man Ace, “Hip Hop Creature”

Speaking of electronic effects, the signature synthesizer swoop that punctuates “Tom Sawyer” is so universally infectious it ended up on tracks by everyone from Ultramagnetic MC’s to El-P, but one of the first to poach “Tom” was the sci-fi-tinged tune “Hip Hop Creature,” a song that introduced West coast rapper Mellow Man Ace to the world, as it’s the opening cut from his 1989 debut album, Escape From Havana.

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