Ludacris - "Coming 2 America"
The Eddie Murphy-inspired intro track on Luda's 2001 debut, Word Of Mouf, "Coming 2 America" samples from one of classical music's biggest names. Mozart's "Dies Irae," from his Requiem Mass in D Minor, provides the somewhat comical backing for Luda's lyrical barbs.
Three 6 Mafia feat. Lil Wyte & Frayser Boy - "Dangerous Posse"
Ever the revolutionary producers, DJ Paul and Juicy J pulled the vocals that drive this posse cut from a more recent opera track. "O Verona," a song composed by Craig Armstrong, appeared in the 1996 film "Romeo + Juliet," starring Leonardo Dicaprio and directed by Baz Luhrmann. It's hard to imagine the members of Three 6 sitting down to enjoy a Shakespearean love story, but how else would they have found the sample?
Young Buck feat. 8Ball, Bun B & MJG - "Say it to My Face"
Not to be confused with the Ludacris song of the same name, Young Buck's "Say it to My Face" appeared on 2007's Buck The World. The Bun B, 8Ball and MJG-assisted cut is the second song on this list to sample Mozart, borrowing the foreboding male choir from "Confutatis Maledictis," another portion of the composer's Requiem Mass in D Minor.
Gucci Mane - "Classical"
While most of the tracks on this list sampled opera singers, Gucci got his own singer to actually come into the studio. Knowing that there were no opera songs in existence that contained the word "Gucci," he and Drumma Boy enlisted backup singers for the hook on "Classical," the intro track on 2009's The State Vs. Radric Davis. The result was a perfect blend of goofy and great, and is still one of Guwop's best songs to date.
Big Boi feat. Big Rube - "General Patton"
On Sir Lucious Left Foot, Big Boi's long-delayed solo album, the ATLien knew he had to do things big. The vocal ensemble on "General Patton" is exactly that, taken from a portion of the 1871 opera "Aida." Giuseppe Verdi, the opera's composer, could've never guessed that his music would later be introduced by the words "Get the South dick up outcha mouth."
Big K.R.I.T. - "Voices"
The voices heard on "Voices," the closing track on K.R.I.T.'s 2010 mixtape K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, are not actually voices at all. It's a keyboard tone made to sound like a choir, but K.R.I.T. uses it so well that it could pass for a sample. The song's about voices in the MC's ear, and its instrumental couldn't match that topic better.
Waka Flocka Flame feat. YG Hootie & Popa Smurf - "Karma"
"Karma," one of many Lex Luger-produced tracks on Waka's Flockaveli mixtape, is made especially eerie by the haunting voices in the background of the instrumental. Like K.R.I.T.'s previous song, "Karma" seems to make use of a keyboard preset, but the vocals that ended up on the track are arguably scarier than Luger's trademark gun sounds, which are also used liberally here.
Lil B - "I Own Swag"
Lil B's "I Own Swag" cops its instrumental from David Banner's song "Swag," speeds it up and adds a healthy dose of Based God weirdness. At one point, Lil B attempts to harmonize with the operatic vocal sample. His rapping on the track is arguably better than Banner's on the original, but we have to give the original producer a boatload of credit for this amazing beat.
Kanye West & Jay Z - "H.A.M."
A second Lex Luger joint, "H.A.M.," saw the young producer getting his biggest break to date in the form of a Watch The Throne bonus track. Kanye's always got his finger on the pulse of hot production trends, and in 2011, Luger's horror-inspired trap was hot as hell. We have no idea where the huge choir in this track came from, but one thing's for sure, Luger absolutely murdered this beat.
Tech N9ne - "Here I Come"
We couldn't very well do this list without including Tech N9ne. Tech Ninna may have been the first to ever do it (sample opera, that is), as he says his single "B.I.T.C.H.", "You disc jockers never played me, you said my shit stopped ya / 2001, I mixed opera now every clique's got the / Sick caca with lots of rippin' about they chips." Indeed, on his third studio LP in 2001, Anghellic, his producer Don Juan did incorporate opera (something which he's continued to do up til present day). On this particular track, "Here I Come", Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Für Elise" was sampled.
"I Still Wanna" is one of the sure highlights on the 2011 Fear Of God mixtape, and much of that is thanks to its huge instrumental, made by frequent Rozay collaborators The Inkredibles. The production team used a very operatic-sounding choir to support the trio of MC's tales of cocaine trafficking, ending up with a bona fide banger.
RiFF RAFF - "White Sprite"
The vocal sample on Jody Highroller's "White Sprite" is pretty simple, but the atmosphere that producer Uzi constructs for the track is very classy. "White Sprite" is short and sweet, and offers a great window into RiFF RAFF's weirdness. Hopefully Highroller pops up on some more beats like this in the future.
Flatbush Zombies - "Amerikkkan Pie"
The last track on this list comes from Flatbush Zombies' 2013 mixtape Better Off Dead. The group's Erick Arc Elliott, one of the most promising young talents currently in the game, came through with a dramatic instrumental that prominently features a sample of a single opera singer. It's creepy, trippy and perfectly in line with the Zombies' unique style.
HotNewHipHop presents 13 hip-hop songs with operatic backing vocals.
On paper, hip-hop and opera seem like completely different styles of music, but many producers have shown us otherwise. Using dramatic, often high-pitched vocal samples, they add a theatrical element to rap tracks. The vocals can come from samples of actual operas or, more commonly, presets on synths or keyboards, and they've been used by everyone from Three 6 Mafia to RiFF RAFF to Tech N9ne.
Here's a chronological list of 13 hip-hop tracks that repurpose opera into a backdrop for beats, rhymes and hooks. This is not a definitive "best of" list, and it's only a brief list of the of wide array of tracks that make use of similar samples.
Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.