HNHH counts down some of the best tracks derived from the classic "Apache" sample. We give you a glimpse into the original song's history and how the instrumental has progressed throughout Hip Hop's timeline.
Hip Hop’s favorite sample has the least Hip Hop origins. Jerry Lordan, a British RAF veteran and part-time songwriter, was inspired by the story Massai - who was the last Apache left after Chief Geronimo surrendered New Mexico to the United States. Lordan composed the riff and legendary British guitarist Bert Weedon originally recorded it.
The veteran didn’t like Weedon’s rendition, but fortunately (or unfortunately for him, depending on how you look at it), he’d hear dozens more versions before passing away in 1995. “Apache” found success in the States with Jørgen Ingmann’s successful 1961 rendition. After multiple other versions, the Incredible Bongo Band went crazy on the drums for the now legendary breakbeat and exponentially increased the altitude of that riff on the famous 1973 edition. Those two elements pushed “Apache” to become one of Hip Hop’s most used samples.
Although it’s a defining instrumental, what helps “Apache”’s longevity is how malleable it is. It’s found a place on the genre’s party records like The Sugarhill Gang’s “Jump On It” to more aggressive cuts such as Nas’ “Made You Look.” There’s plenty to choose from, but here are the greatest “Apache”-sampling songs to date.