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Hendrix Lives On In the Hearts of Hip-Hop Producers (And the Internet)


There’s a saying that heroes never die, they just get sampled. The art of sampling is a cornerstone of hip-hop culture, and it’s also become a vital part of keeping the legacy of older artists alive. When a sample is done right, it can spark fresh interest in a classic or obscure song and bring new attention to deserving influential artists.

They say that game recognizes game, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to the most talented producers. These are people with record-collections that will make your eyes bug out. They have a unique ability to introduce listeners to brand-new sounds and make you hear classics in a unique way you never thought possible. Nowhere is this more evident than with the catalog of Jimi Hendrix.

The rock icon has been sampled in some of hip-hop’s most recognizable songs including classic tracks like The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.” Hendrix is one of those artists with such a rich catalog of music (despite his tragically short career) that his samples appear everywhere from the old school to the new school. Rick Ross can be found sampling Hendrix’s blistering hit “Fire” for the song “The World is Ours” with Pharrell and Meek Mill. For another terrific example, look no further than the master himself, DJ Premier. Premier has flipped tons of samples during his career with Gang Starr, but one that stands out in particular for me is the way he puts Hendrix’s “Stone Free” on its ear in the remix for “The Militia II.” It’s such a simple riff, but Premier renders it nearly unrecognizable as it becomes the backbone of the driving track.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hendrix has such an influence on hip-hop, despite the disparity in genre. As a matter of fact, one of his old producers said that if he was alive today Hendrix might have gotten into rap. Given his willingness to push boundaries and constantly experiment with what’s possible in music, it makes sense that he would continue to be on the cutting edge of industry. Hendrix was an innovator that tested the limits of what’s possible not only with a guitar, but also with production and technology.

That’s why it’s more than just fresh music that’s helping to keep Hendrix at the front of the public consciousness. We still see his legend all over the internet in everything from tribute pages to streaming albums and now there’s video games, too. An online slot game made with the musician’s likeness and music as part of a collection of multiple big name rock band branded slots is a fun way for fans to kick it with the rock god while playing some casual games. These games have proven to be an effective method for older artists to get their names—and their music—in front of fans. They also help to keep influencing new generations beyond their established discographies.

Jimi Hendrix remains one of the most iconic recording artists that ever lived and he managed to accomplish more in a little less than ten years than most musicians do in their entire lives. The affect of his music can still be felt through his classic albums and the producers who continue mining his catalog for some of the best beats in hip-hop.


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