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What Went Right With Presents… The Top 20 Hip-Hop Songs That Sample Television Shows & TV Themes

A cathode ray TV wearing headphones

Along with movie soundtrack samples, Hip-Hop artists (along with Grime, Garage, and Dance musicians) have all sampled TV theme tunes and made some classic music in the process. Here’s my list of the best Hip-Hop tracks that make use of televisual sampling…

20

Countdown” (sampling Countdown)

By Young Guns (Babycham, JP, Neeko, Venom, Mingstar, Flamin, Earz, Dimpsy, Ozzie B, Skary, Jammer & Zappa)

Starting off the list not with Hip-Hop but Grime, this track which sampled UK game show Countdown was a bit of a joke when it came out, but I thought it was quite fun and catchy. Thankfully this tune was made back in the Carol Vorderman days. Had it been made today, we’d probably have the godawful Rachel Riley trying to be down in the music video…

19

Champagne Thoughts” (sampling Police Woman)

By D.I.T.C.

Buckwild sampled 70’s TV show Police Woman and made a decent track in the process. He didn’t just “pepper” the production, he smothered it with a looping sample…

18

“Thug Connection” (sampling The A-Team)

By Papoose, AZ, & Kool G Rap

Making use of The A-Team theme (although it’s not strictly a sample) this was one of the first songs from super-rapper Papoose. It would have made more sense for the track to have a four-man team in it but I suppose “Howling Mad” Murdock was never part of the original plot…

17

“Crookie Monster” (sampling Sesame Street)

By Agallah

8-Off Agallah put the “street” into “Sesame Street” with his joint from 1999…

16

“Feel Ya Way” (sampling Kojak)

By Craig G

Craig G’s “Feel Ya Way” was produced by Marley Marl and Salaam Remi. They sampled the slap-head detective series and made this old-school track. Who loves ya, baby!

15

“Transformers” (sampling Transformers)

By Heltah Skeltah, D.V. Alias Khrist, & Smith Bros.

Sampling The Transformers theme tune has been done a few times, to the point that I expected Michael Bay’s movies to at least feature one of these songs but nope, mainstream Hollywood knows nothing of making and referencing classics. The best (and earliest) version is the Ruck, Rock, Khryst, Smoothe, and Trigger version, and unfortunately it’s a poor quality audio…

There’s also “What’s Da Flavour” (Decepticon Remix) aka “Game Over” and all versions feature real-life Decepticon Rockness Monsta…

14

“Happy Days” (sampling Happy Days)

By PackFM

Using irony in his post-Bush, Obama-era track, even The Fonz would say “Heyyy!” or “Woah!” to this PackFM song…

13

“You Know What I’m About” (sampling Scooby Doo)

By Lord Finesse

Sampling the opening portion of the Scooby-Doo theme and putting it on repeat like the backgrounds in, err… Scooby-Doo,  Finesse made an early-90’s classic here…

12

“Cab Fare” (sampling Taxi)

By Souls Of Mischief

This non-album track by Left Coast group Souls Of Mischief samples the 70’s sitcom and like lots of their tracks, it sounds more “East Coast” than the Sunshine Cab Company…

Taxi was later sampled in the same-named song by Capital Steez…

11

“The Militia” (sampling Dark Shadows)

By Gang Starr, Big Shug, & Freddie Foxxx

A lesser-known TV show but a very popular Gang Starr Track. DJ Premier subtly samples 60’s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows in this late-90’s banger…

10

“Real Raw” (sampling The Days Of Our Lives)

By Craig Mack

Bad Boy’s street-oriented star (who was unfortunately outshone by their overweight player superstar) made lots of classic golden era joints. “Real Raw” sampled The Days Of Our Lives but a few years later, Mack’s debut album was forgotten about. The music business doesn’t care about your life until the day you die…

9

“The Show” (sampling Inspector Gadget)

By Doug E Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew

Not a sample but a replaying of the Inspector Gadget theme tune, “The Show” is an old-old-school party staple. Go, go gadget turntable!

8

“Prowl” (sampling Mission Impossible)

By Heltah Skeltah & Louieville Sluggah

The sample from Mission Impossible has been sampled by a few musicians including Portishead but producer Mr. Walt uses it to great effect here. Ruck, Rock, and Louie bless the beat with their usually impressive rhymes…

7

“5 Stars” (sampling M*A*S*H)

By Killarmy

Taken from their military-themed debut album Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars, Killarmy’s “5 Stars” skillfully sampled the theme from the 70’s war dramedy and made a sombre-sounding song in the process…

6

“My Flows Is Tight” (sampling The Price Is Right)

By Lord Digga

Along with the aforementioned “Crookie Monster” track, Game Recordings dropped this gem back in 1998. But what did the single cost? Place your bids!

5

“Warzone” (sampling The Incredible Hulk)

By Pete Rock & Dead Prez

Pete Rock’s sample of The Incredible Hulk theme made a great Hip-Pop track, and dead prez then ironically comment on this style of song. While you’re partying in the club, don’t forget about all the ills of the world, they’re enough to make you turn green with anger…

Also worth a mention is Killarmy’s “Wake Up” which made great use of The Incredible Hulk sample…

4

“All Time Einstein” (sampling Hill Street Blues)

By Hi-Tech

Hi-Tech is an underrated and underexposed rapper from the 1990’s (an article about the man will probably make its way to this site at some point). “All Time Einstein” samples the theme from popular TV show Hill Street Blues but like Hi-Tech it’s almost unknown…

Also worth a mention is Cormega’s “’62 Pickup” which used the same sample…

3

“357” (sampling Magnum P.I.)

By Cam’Ron

I remember this track slapped back in 1998. Sampling the Magnum P.I. theme tune and even referencing the character’s car in the title and music video, this song (along with “Horse & Carriage”) took Killa Cam from the underground to the mainstream…

2

“Spread It Out” (sampling The Simpsons)

By Masta Ace

I’m not the biggest fan of The Simpsons but Masta Ace rapping over a double-time beat is great to hear. How did this infectious track not make it into the charts? ¡Ay, caramba!

1

“Fire It Up” (sampling Knight Rider)

By Busta Rhymes

Like Busta’s “Gimme Some More” which sampled the theme from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, this song which samples 80’s TV show Knight Rider was from Busta Rhymes’ musical peak, and it even crossed-over into the charts with its brilliant Nineteen Eighty Four (and Ridley Scott’s Apple advert)-referencing video. Hey, KITT, play “Fire It Up” on full volume!

Also worth mentioning is Ill Advised’s “Roll Call” which uses the same sample (although not in such a catchy way)…

Here’s a playlist featuring TV-sampling tracks that appear in Spotify’s library with some non-Hip-Hop songs thrown in for good measure. Switch off your TV and listen to these joints instead..

Tell-Lie-Vision.

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