“Larry, people will still be listening to their music in the year 2000 – mark that down” — Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager.
It’s no secret that The Beatles have a mammoth influence on nearly every genre of music today, not just rock music. They were one of the most iconic bands of all time, and their legacy continues to live on, including in unexpected places like rap and hip hop songs.
While there are plenty of different ways that an artist can use inspiration from another band or artist in their music—from a mention in the lyrics to an actual sample of the song itself, there are so many different methods an artist can take.
Some of these songs are extremely subtle with their references, others toss it all out there. Whether you’re more of a classic rock fan or you’re in it for the rap, there are so many choices that both kinds of music fans can enjoy.
Here are five rap songs that were actually inspired by The Beatles.
5 rap songs inspired by The Beatles:
‘White Ferrari – Frank Ocean
‘White Ferrari’ by Frank Ocean utilises a Beatles sample, but it often goes under the radar, especially considering how well the entire track blends together with vocals and all. However, listening to the songs together makes it undeniable.
The song in question that Ocean samples is ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’ off the Revolver album. Owing perhaps to the deeper nature of the Frank Ocean cut, the song that Paul McCartney called one of his favourites from The Beatles’ back catalogue can sometimes be forgotten.
‘Loud’ – Mac Miller
The late, great Mac Miller was apparently a bit of a Beatles fan himself, grabbing a cheeky sample from ‘Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds’ for his track ‘Loud’. Taken from The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album, the track has become synonymous with LSD, despite the group professing to not realise the connotations. It seems fitting that Miller should experiment with such a beat.
Even though this is an extremely popular sample, he uses it in such a subtle way that it can sometimes be easy to forget that he’s using one of the most iconic bands of all time.
‘King of Rock’ – Run-D.M.C.
Throwing it back for a classic rock and classic hip hop crossover, Run-D.M.C. once used a bit of Beatles inspiration not as a sample, but by making a lyrical reference instead! While many of these tracks feature samples, ‘King of Rock’ pays tribute a little differently.
A funny story, the lyrics go, “There’s three of us/but we’re not the Beatles,” because Rev Run thought there were three Beatles. A little bit of a faux pas on that one!
‘Gorgeous’ – Kanye West
Did we forget that Kanye also mentioned The Beatles in one of his songs before, too? On his song ‘Gorgeous’, taken from his seminal record My Dark Twisted Beautiful Fantasy Kanye West says the lines, “They rewrite history, I don’t believe in yesterday. What’s a black Beatle, anyway?”
Many credit him with the phrase ‘Black Beatle’ because of this lyric, at least as far as referencing it in rap music is concerned. Regardless, it’s a nice lyrical nod nonetheless.
‘The Heart Gently Weeps’ – Wu-Tang Clan
You can probably tell by the title what this one is a reference to, and you’d be right on the money. ‘The Heart Gently Weeps’ uses a sample of The Beatles’ iconic song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. The track was written by George Harrison and featured as a standout moment on the LP known as The White Album.
Technically, this is one of the first rap songs to actually utilise a sample from a Beatles track, and it seems they were on to something, considering how great this song turned out to be.