From KRS-One kickin’ crazy fresh lyrics over the iconic main riff of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” on “Dope Beat” to Chuck D and Flava Flav lambasting chicken heads amidst the monstrous riffage of Slayer’s “Angel of Death” on “She Watch Channel Zero?!”, hip hop’s greatest emcees and hard rock and metal’s greatest groups have coalesced to form unholy alliances. Moreover, hard rock and metal songs have provided some of the most memorable breaks – Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”, Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”, and Rolling Stone’s “Honky Tonk Women” are all prime examples. Do a little research and you’ll see the influence of rock and metal is not just centered on production, but also lyrics, choruses, and name checks.
In the history of hip hop’s convergence with hard rock/metal one group, however, is conspicuous by their absence because they are the most influential metal band of all-time – of course, I speak of the almighty Black Sabbath. The list of songs that sample Black Sabbath is pretty short (as you will see). Even their most “famous” drum break from “Behind The Wall of Sleep” was used by only a handful of artists. The thoroughly mediocre Steve Miller Band, on the other hand, probably stacks more chips off of “Fly Like An Eagle” during a single year than Sabbath has in their entire illustrious career.
You might contend that plenty of greats like Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple are not exactly caking off royalties from sampling licensing either. True, but this is Black FUCKING Sabbath. Why hasn’t Black Sabbath had as large an impact on hip hop as they have had on the greater musical world? Maybe it’s because they’re too metal; but if that were the case, would Slayer be front-and-center on what many consider the greatest hip hop album of all-time? Okay, so maybe it’s because Sabbath couldn’t lay down a chunky groove? No. No fucking way. Have you heard “The Wizard”? “N.I.B.”? “War Pigs”? “Faries Wear Boots”? “Supernaut”? “Hole In The Sky”? Well, maybe Sabbath is reluctant to give sampling clearance in fear of tarnishing their legacy? Well, first of all, guitarist Tony Iommi has had no problem trying to tarnish their legacy (see Born Again). Second, there is the matter of the Busta Rhymes remake (or human rights violation, depending on your perspective) of “Iron Man” on Extinction Level Event featuring…Ozzy!?!?!? *shudders*
So the question remains – why aren’t producers exploiting Sabbath’s catalog of incredible music? After compiling this mix of songs that sample Sabbath, I think this is partly due to a lack of imagination and partly to ignorance. When most people think of Black Sabbath they think of the chugging “Paranoid” or the plodding “Iron Man” but I would argue that is akin to thinking if you downloaded “Streets of New York” and “Ill Street Blues” you would have “heard” Kool G. Rap. In both cases, there is a lot more depth and variety in the artist’s catalog than most casual listeners think.
There are tons of amazing grooves and sick breaks waiting to be extracted from Sabbath’s records and made into filthy beats, but few producers have either the skill and/or vision to accomplish this. Hopefully this modest compilation will show the small impact Black Sabbath has made in hip hop. Better yet, perhaps some producer out there will see the potential to craft amazing beats from Sabbath source material and bless us with a masterpiece like Muggs did on “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That”. In the meantime, download the tracks and praise Satan for giving the world Black Sabbath.
Without further ado, here are 12 songs that sample Sabbath as well as the 9 Sabbath songs in their original form. (Note: The Sabbath song appears before the tracks that sample it.)
1. Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath” from Black Sabbath (1970)
2. Ice-T “Midnight” from OG: Original Gangster (1991)
3. Busta Rhymes “Blackout” from Busta’s Back (2008) – Busta gives us another lazy use of a Sabbath sample with horrible rapping to boot.
4. Presage “Why?” from Outer Perimeter
5. Black Sabbath “The Wizard” from Black Sabbath (1970)
6. Cypress Hill “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” from Black Sunday (1993) – Perhaps the best song that makes heavy use of a Black Sabbath sample. I’m almost positive the eerie sounding feedback is from the end of “Behind the Wall of Sleep”. Can anyone confirm/deny?
7. Black Sabbath “Behind the Wall of Sleep” from Black Sabbath (1970)
8. Jungle Brothers “Beeds on a String” from Done by the Forces of Nature (1989)
9. Too $hort “Paystyle” from Cocktails (1995)
10. Black Sabbath “Wicked World” from Black Sabbath (1970)
11. The Beatnuts “Reign of the Tec” from Intoxicated Demons (1993) – Neck and neck with “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” for best song to use a Sabbath sample although the sample is short and only used during the chorus.
12. Black Sabbath “A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning” from Black Sabbath (1970)
13. DJ Mayonniase “DJ’s Shouldn’t Talk/Ozzy Rules” from 55 Stories (1999)
14. Black Sabbath “War Pigs/Luke’s Wall” from Paranoid (1970)
15. Ice-T “Intro/Rhyme Pays” from Rhyme Pays (1987)
16. Black Sabbath “Planet Caravan” from Paranoid (1970)
17. L Roneous Da’Versifier “In the C.O.R.N.” from Imaginarium (1998) – Great song from an underappreciated album. Beautiful use of the sample.
18. Black Sabbath “Iron Man” from Paranoid (1970)
19. Busta Rhymes feat. Ozzy “This Means War!!!” from Extention Level Event (1998) – I had to listen to it so you have to listen to it.
20. Black Sabbath “Sweet Leaf” from Master of Reality (1971)
21. Beastie Boys “Rhymin& Stealin” from Licensed to Ill (1986) – First use of a Sabbath sample in hip hop?
— Money Gripp