Six Songs That Have A Bit Of “Thriller” In Their DNA

noah | June 25, 2009 11:00 pm

The late Michael Jackson’s landmark 1982 album Thriller wasn’t a collection of songs as much as it was an event that upended the pop landscape, and birthed much of what would come in its wake. But in addition to thinking about it as a direct influence on today’s pop stars (i.e. the “I heard ‘Billie Jean’ and knew that I wanted to make music my life” narrative proffered by so many artists in the wake of his passing), one can also think about how the songs themselves were sampled by musicians who came in Jackson’s wake, deconstructed so that they became still-recognizable parts of a greater, slightly updated whole. Six of Thriller‘s musical descendants after the jump. (Thanks to Idolator emeritus Jess Harvell for helping me with some of the brainstorming here.) 6. Aaliyah ft. Slick Rick, “Got To Give It Up” (samples the drumbeat from “Billie Jean” at the beginning)

5. Public Enemy, “911 Is A Joke” (samples Vincent Price’s laugh from “Thriller”)

4. Rihanna, “Don’t Stop The Music”

(This is a bit of a cheat, since the meat of the sample is Manu Dibango’s sampled-by-Michael “Soul Makossa.” But Michael’s “woo-hoo”s, essential to many of his songs, are laced in as well.) 3. Nas, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” (samples “Human Nature”)

2. Kanye West feat. T-Pain, “Good Life” (samples “P.Y.T.”)

1. SWV, “Right Here / Human Nature” (Samples “Human Nature”)

Michael Jackson [WhoSampled] The Michael Jackson Sample Map [Ethan Hein]