By Sheila Dichoso
Nothing says hip-hop like Hall & Oates. That's right. Not even the filthy mouths of 2 Live Crew could resist their soft rock hooks, luxurious hair and awkward, ambiguous lyrics. (You can't go for what, exactly?)
From Wu Tang to Kanye, rappers have paid homage to the Reagan-era duo by taking bits and pieces of their music for years. (In total they've been sampled by musicians a whopping 52 times and counting.) They possess so much soul that back in the '80s some fans swore they were black until they saw them perform.
This Fourth of July weekend, the guilty pleasure pair take over the Hollywood Bowl for three glorious nights. The only way to welcome them to L.A. was to pay tribute to the 7 Best Hall & Oates-sampled Songs from the genre that loves them best, hip-hop. Getcha rock and soul on:
7. Kanye feat. Rhymefest and Mikkey – “Fight With the Best”
Sample: “Grounds for Separation“
This unreleased track, recorded in the '90s with the Go Getters, is early proof that West made beats sound stylish and opulent. Its chorus, Hall & Oates' third line “I can fight with the best but I can only go so many rounds” is punched up with his own words of motivation, “If you gotta thug it out, thug it out.”
6. Wu-Tang Clan – “Method Man”
Sample: “Method of Modern Love“
Hall & Oates taught Method Man to spell it out for his first single off Wu's influential debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Method nicked just one line: “M-E-T-H-O-D,” but that's all the '80s magic he needed to create one of the most memorable hooks in hip-hop history.
5. Heavy D – “I'll Do Anything”
Sample: “I Can't Go For That“
The self-proclaimed “overweight lover” checks out a Puerto Rican girl at a club in this jam from his first solo album Waterbed Hev. Here a girl sings “I'll do anything for you, I'm gonna put you in the mood,” and Heavy D can go for that.
4. 2 Live Crew – “I Can't Go For That”
Sample: “I Can't Go For That”
Interlaced with '80s turntable mixes and scratches, The Miami crew raps about their distaste for “scummin' and bummin'” golddiggers. “I ain't no sucka, I can't go for that!” Preach, Brother Marquis.
3. Krayzie Bone – “Smokin' Buddah”
Sample: “Sara Smile“
This was as close as white dudes could get to R&B. Hall & Oates showed the world they could bring out the bear rug and light the candles with this “slow jam.” The breakthrough single is about Hall's girlfriend, Sara Allen, but Krayzie Bone's version is a sensual love song to Mary Jane.
2. Notorious B.I.G.- “I Can't Go For That” (Happy People Remix)
Sample: “I Can't Go For That”
Little is known about this gem – only that it was released in 2004 as a 12″ single with an R. Kelly track. Nevertheless, it's reminiscent of mid-90s hip-hop, back when Diddy made sampling into an art form. It's a combo of blatant booty call yearning with schoolboy crushing. “All I wanna do is smoke a lil chronic, slam ya like Onyx, and get cha hooked on Biggie Small's phonics,” he rhymes. As usual, Biggie's smooth, burly flow sounds like a match made in heaven over a honeyed sampled beat.
1. De La Soul – “Say No Go”
Sample: “I Can't Go For That,” “Sara Smile”
The Long Island hip-hop group's anthem from their seminal debut 3 Feet High and Rising requires no introduction. Its eclectic funk and soul layers and socially conscious message embody the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. De La Soul used “I Can't Go For That” to address the perils of drugs, specifically crack cocaine, which was hailed as a nationwide epidemic in the late '80s. “You've got the body, now you want my soul,” says Pos about crack. “Nah, can't have none of that.” Hugs, not drugs, kids!