7 Hottest Bob Marley Hip Hop Samples

BYWyatt Westlake2.5K Views
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Bob Marley Performs At Crystal Palace Bowl in London
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 7: Bob Marley performs on stage at Crystal Palace Bowl on June 7th, 1980 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Pete Still/Redferns)

Bob Marley’s influence on hip hop is undeniable.

Last week, the trailer for the upcoming Bob Marley biopic, Bob Marley: One Love was released. The first look at the film sees British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir starring as the reggae icon and Lashana Lynch as his wife, Rita Marley. The film is scheduled for an early 2024 release. Ziggy Marley and Rita Marley, Bob's son and widow, respectively, are serving as producers. Reinaldo Marcus Green, who gained recognition for directing King Richard, will direct the film. Bob Marley’s status as a legendary musician had been cemented long before his passing in 1981. He is still widely regarded as one of the greatest Jamaican musicians and figures in the history of reggae. 

However, Bob Marley’s influence on hip-hop is undeniable. His music has been sampled numerous times in rap songs, whether it is a direct sample in an instrumental or an interpolation of a specific lyric. The subjects of social justice, peace, and unity in hip-hop songs often mirrors similar messages in the late reggae icon's music.

Bob Marley’s son, Damian Marley collaborated with Nas for an album that showcased the similarities shared between hip-hop and reggae. To commemorate the first glimpse of the upcoming film, this is a list of the seven hottest Bob Marley hip-hop samples. Each selection prominently samples Bob Marley’s music, not just interpolating a singular lyric or melody. Take a look at the list below, ranked in no particular order. 

Read More: Jay-Z Aspires To Be Mentioned Alongside Bob Marley “And All The Greats”

7. Public Enemy - "Fight The Power" (1989)

Public Enemy’s seminal political rap anthem, “Fight The Power” contains numerous samples from the likes of James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Sly & The Family Stone, Rick James, and Funkadelic. The song also notably samples “I Shot the Sheriff” by Bob Marley and The Wailers in its chorus. Public Enemy’s powerful protest against the powers that be channels that of “I Shot The Sheriff” in its fight for justice.

6. 2Pac - "When I Get Free" (1997)

Producers have sampled Bob Marley's music for posthumous rap albums before, including Biggie's Duets album. “When I Get Free” from 2Pac’s posthumous double-disc album, R U Still Down? samples Bob Marley's song “No More Trouble.” Rather than sampling a single portion of the song as a main backing track, “When I Get Free” utilizes multiple parts of “No More Trouble.” Throughout 2Pac’s track, one can hear multiple elements of Bob Marley’s song, including both vocals and instrumentation. 

Read More: Wyclef Jean Covers Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”

5. Lauryn Hill - "Forgive Them Father" (1998)

Multiple tracks on Fugees’ The Score album contain Bob Marley references in both lyrics and melody, including a cover of “No Woman, No Cry.” Marley’s influence on the New Jersey hip-hop crew is evident. “Forgive Them Father” from Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill makes use of Bob Marley’s 1973 song, “Concrete Jungle.” Hill’s connection to Bob Marley runs deep as she has children with his son, Rohan. Additionally, much of The Miseducation was recorded at Bob Marley’s famous Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica. Julian Marley also played guitar on “Forgive Them Father.”

4. Lloyd Banks Ft. 50 Cent - "Porno Star" (2003)

This song from Lloyd Banks’s 2003 debut mixtape, Money in the Bank samples Bob Marley’s “So Much Trouble In The World.” On this track, Lloyd Banks and 50 Cent utilize the melody of an emotionally thoughtful Bob Marley song, making it into a G-Unit banger. The song comes from the era when 50 Cent and G-Unit were starting to take over hip-hop. Lloyd Banks was building the buzz for his debut album with his mixtapes at that time. This song may not have any correlation with its original sample but uses it in an imaginative way.

Read More: Rihanna Wishes Bob Marley A Happy Birthday, Dubs Him A “Legend”

3. Fat Joe Ft. The Game - "Breathe And Stop" (2006)

Fat Joe’s 2006 collaboration with The Game samples both the vocals and instrumental of Bob Marley’s “War” from his 1976 album Rastaman Vibration. They looped the sample with additional percussion while making the original vocal refrain one of the song's main focal points. The reggae-flavored instrumental was made for a collaboration between two of the biggest rappers from the East and West coasts at that time. The Game would eventually sample Bob Marley on his own song, “Higher (2010).”

2. Talib Kweli feat. KRS-One - "The Perfect Beat" (2007)

This collaboration between Talib Kweli and KRS-One sees them search for the perfect beat. Produced by Swiff D and Hi-Tek, “The Perfect Beat” samples “Do it Twice” by Bob Marley and The Wailers. The song embodies hip-hop’s true origins in its lyrical content about classic hip-hop beats, the song’s reggae sample, and its New York roots.

Read More: Wyclef Jean Covers Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”

1. Migos - "Crown The Kings" (2018)

Migos’ “Crown the Kings” is the most recent song on this list that deserves recognition among the hottest Bob Marley hip-hop samples. From 2018’s Culture II, the song notably samples Bob Marley’s classic song “Get Up, Stand Up,” which is Marley's most sampled song among hip-hop artists. Outkast, Common, Public Enemy, and more have sampled "Get Up, Stand Up" throughout hip-hop history. However, Migos sampled the actual song in the instrumental of “Crown the Kings.” It is a significantly more modern take on a Bob Marley song compared to most, but Migos did an admirable job. They did not rely on a popular sample to make a good song and made sure that it enhances the track.

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About The Author
Wyatt Westlake is a writer from Somerville, MA. He has been writing about hip hop, RnB, and beyond for almost a decade, joining the HNHH team in 2023. Majoring in Communication Studies, he is currently finishing his BA at Temple University. Wyatt is also a radio presenter, hosting his own shows and curating eclectic playlists since 2019. An avid concert-goer, one all-time moment for him was when Dave brought him onstage to perform “Thiago Silva” in front of a sold-out crowd.