Wednesday, September 3rd, Aerosmith play the Prudential Center. While much has been written about their extensive catalog and presence in the media, their influence on early hip-hop has been somewhat understated. The drum breaks from tracks like “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion” were some of the earliest bricks that built rap, and their embracing of hip-hop in the mid-80s lead to the profile of the genre being raised. It also lead to a career resurgence for Aerosmith themselves. It is with equal admiration for the hip-hop revolution and the band behind Revolution X that we look back at the top five Aerosmith samples of all time.
5) BLESTeNATION – “Sweet Emo Shun”
New York rap trio BLESTeNATION clearly wanted to make their mixtape standout amidst one of the biggest mixtape years in 2007, so for their first FuckAMixtape installment, they took to remaking tracks like Faith No More’s “Epic” and, our favorite, Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.” Redubbed “Sweet Emo Shun,” the beat is built off of extending the opening seconds with a well executed blend into the hook and back again.
4) Big Sean – “Dreams”
Aerosmith-sampling fever must have been an epidemic in 2007 because it also gave us Big Sean channeling “Amazing” for his mixtape track “Dreams.” While seven years is about three lifetimes in rap years, it’s staggering how wildly different Big Sean sounds here. His rhyme style at the time works perfectly in terms of properly working the track’s concept over the sample.
3) Juelz Santana – “Daddy”
Steven Tyler himself has expressed regret over recording “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” for 1998’s Armageddon, but he may take some solace in knowing it was used to make a Juelz Santana song that’s meant quite a lot to many people. 2005’s “Daddy” lifts the way Tyler screams “breathing” for a track all about the love between a father and his infant. Given how many homemade videos of parents and their babies exist set to this song on YouTube, it seems to have struck a chord even without images of Liv Tyler.
2) Eminem – “Sing For the Moment”
Eminem’s made more than his share of songs about how different life becomes once you’re famous, mostly painting it as quite difficult. “Sing For the Moment” is one of the better ones, namely the big arena feel of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” gives the track a larger-than-life aura. Something about the tone of Em’s voice and flow just meshes well with the use of the track’s original ’70s master, a sample that maybe four hip-hop artists could actually get their label to afford. It’s one of the highlights of 2002’s The Eminem Show and, not unlike what the sample meant for its source, is rightfully remembered as one of his signature songs. The only version of “Dream On” we prefer is Jesse Camp and Tori Amos’ duet, but that’s another list.
1) Run-DMC – “Walk This Way”
Of course this had to be number one. A milestone of the genre and game-changer for hip-hop culture, “Walk This Way” made rap a mainstay on MTV and opened the floodgates for new audiences to embrace the sound. While the track’s drums have laced the backbone for some all time classics like De La Soul’s “Keeping the Faith” and Digital Underground’s “Same Song,” Rick Rubin’s masterminded Run-DMC cover of “Walk This Way” is, to this day, a landmark rite of passage for anyone with even a passing interest in the genre.