Sampling 101: Michael Jackson – Human Nature


Who Sampled It Best?

Sampling 101: Michael Jackson – Human Nature

mikeThriller is one of the most iconic albums in history.  The immortal Michael Jackson released this bomb in 1982 and damn near every song from the album was a number 1 single.  One of my favs is the beautiful Quincy Jones produced “Human Nature.”  Hip-Hop & R&B would soon take notice of this timeless ballad and began sampling with varying results. Let’s check some of them out.

“Human Nature”

Who Sampled It Best?

1) SWV “Right Here Remix”

swvSisters With Voices….aka SWV just may be greatest girl group of all time.  1992’s “Right Here-Remix” was the first time I ever heard “Human Nature” sampled.  Teddy Riley was the maestro here and this was one of his finest gems.  His production was so smooth and crisp; I actually thought MJ himself was crooning on the hook.   The celestial voice of Coko and the background vocals of LeeLee and Taj were beautiful.   This was the ladies biggest hit and one of the biggest singles in 1993.  Listen closely; towards the end you will hear a young Pharrell chanting “S Double U V”.

“Right Here”

2) Nas “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”

nas-it-aint-hard-to-tell-back-in-the-day-buffetOnce 1994 rolled around, the Right Here remix was still in my cd player programmed for the tender ronis.  However the god, Nasty Nas had released a couple singles and was quickly becoming everyones favorite rapper.  This kid had a mastery of language with metaphors galore.

I dominate break loops, giving mics men-e-straul cycles
Street’s disciple, I rock beats that’s mega trifle
And groovy but smoother than moves by Villanova
Yet still a soldier, I’m like Sly Stallone in Cobra
Packing like a rasta in the weed spot
Vocals’ll squeeze glocks, MC’s eavesdrop

Nas’s insanely descriptive flows completely draw you into his music.  The entire Illmatic project brilliantly sampled old jazz and blues tracks. Producer Large Professor switched things up a bit and decided to provide a sped up sample based on the ballad “Human Nature”.   The beat throughout was basic and perfect, but the hook featured a couple notes from the saxophone and MJ’s “da da da da da da da da” Nas was so far ahead of his time, within the first 10 seconds of the video, he was dabbin on em.    Easily one of the best songs ever.

“It Ain’t Hard to Tell”

3) Tupac “Thug Nature”

death-rowThe immortal Tupac had a message for the phony broads on “Thug Nature”.  Pac lets us know men certainly won’t have any respect for a fake chick.   Underrated producer QDIII (Quincy Jones son) created one of Tupacs smoother tracks to flow on. It appeared on a Death Row’s 2000 compilation Too Gangsta For Radio.  This song will no doubt illicit some type of emotion just by hearing one icon gone too soon sampling another.

One of my favorite Pac songs.

“Thug Nature”

Each one of these songs is major and has been on my playlist for years. The epitome of a great use of a recognizable sample, and it’s not overused by too many artists. 20 years ago, I would have said Nas sample was the illest, but these days, I enjoy the SWV version, so the ladies get the win.  MJ’s vocals on the hook put this over the edge and easily bring a tear to my eye.

Sampling 101: Michael Jackson – Human Nature

Now there are plenty others over the past 25 years that have sampled MJ’s timeless ballad.  Multitalented Chris Brown revitalized this a few years back.  I get tired of all his shenanigans but I can’t front, “She Aint You” was nice.  R&B gentleman Ne-Yo drafted LL Cool J on the remix to “So Sick” which was surprisingly dope.  A few other peeps used this familiar backdrop for their music.  But me answer this, whether your choice is above or not…Who Sampled It Best?

Who Sampled It Best? is a weekly column that delves into the background of sampling and Hip-Hop culture by taking a deeper look at it’s roots.

Have a suggestion? Hit us up with your favorite tracks that used the same sample and we’ll break it down.

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