Best Dolly Parton Samples In Hip Hop & R&B

The global icon’s work extends far beyond her country music roots.

BYDemi Phillips
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In music, experimentation has mostly ensured the evolution of sound over the years. Besides the creation of fusion genres, one of the greatest results of experimentation in music is sampling. Through this process, the timeless melodies of legends like Dolly Parton have successfully intersected with the rhythmic cadence of Hip Hop. While seemingly disparate in sound, these two worlds have harmoniously converged through the art of sampling. On January 19, the country icon celebrated her 78th birthday. With a career that spans over five decades and almost 50 solo albums, she is in a league of her own. Over the years, many of her songs have been covered or sampled across several genres. Here are five of the best Hip Hop tracks featuring Dolly Parton samples.

Read More: Top 15 Greatest Hip-Hop Samples

5. “Full Steezy” – Capone-N-Noreaga (2000)

New York Hip Hop duo Capone-N-Noreaga gained prominence in the late ‘90s with their debut album. Subsequently, in 2000, they released their 20-track sophomore album, The Reunion. Track 16, “Full Steezy,” samples “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. While the duo changed the lyrics on their track, they used the melody from the chorus of “Islands In The Stream.” This sample comes in on the 0:21 second mark of “Full Steezy” and plays on other parts throughout the song. While it did not achieve commercial success, “Full Steezy” is a well-executed rap song with great storytelling. 

4. “Jolene” – Rip ft. Kirstie Kraus (2019)

Released on November 1, 2019, “Jolene” samples the iconic Dolly Parton song of the same name. Rip, a Christian Hip Hop artist, reimagined the country anthem, making it into an infectious rap tune. Admittedly, the first few seconds of the track just sound like a sped-up version of Parton’s original song. However, as the hook and verse come on, listeners will hear the additional Hip Hop elements in the production. While keeping the original hook from Dolly Parton, Rip weaves intricate rap verses that sit surprisingly well on the energetic beat. 

3. “Release” – Blackalicious ft. Saul Williams & Lyrics Born (2002)

Blackalicious' 2002 song “Release” samples 1980's “9 To 5” by Dolly Parton, one of the singer’s most iconic and recognizable songs. This recycling of music is the beauty of sampling, and it is expertly done by Blackalicious. Although Dolly Parton’s vocals aren’t featured, the aggressive piano intro on “9 To 5” is perfectly utilized. Like on “9 to 5,” the keys make an appearance in the intro of “Release” and stay throughout the song. On their part, the rappers on the track do what is required of them and devour their verses. 

Read More: 10 Frequently Sampled Records In Hip-Hop

2. “9-5ers Anthem” – Aesop Rock (2001)

As the title suggests, this track also samples “9 To 5” by Dolly Parton. It appears on Aesop Rock’s sophomore album Labor Days, and is an alternative Hip Hop track. Emphatically, in “9-5ers Anthem,” the rapper delves into the daily struggles of the working class. Although it ends up being lyrically dense, the songwriting is stellar, and tells a vivid story. While “Release” samples the instrumental of “9 to 5,” Aesop Rock’s interpolates its lyrics. The sampled lyrics appear on the 3:23 mark of “9-5ers Anthem.”

1. “Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are) – Pras Ft. Mya & Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1998)

On June 6, 1998, “Ghetto Superstar” was released as the second single from Pras’ debut album. The track featured vocals from Mya, as well as an extra rap kick from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Subsequently, it became a universal hit, topping charts worldwide and peaking at number 15 on the Hot 100 chart. Like Capone-N-Noreaga’s “Full Steezy,” this track also samples the melody of “Islands In The Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. It is arguably the most popular Hip Hop song that features a sample from a song by the country legend. “Ghetto Superstar” is a great song, which is why it has maintained its popularity over the years.

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About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and R&B, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.