HARI In-House Blog

Submitted by batkins on

As part of the "Hiphop Meets Jazz" Appreciation Series, this playlist highlights the hereditary impact of jazz in hiphop through sampling. The use of jazz samples is more than sonic preference; it is a nod to the past. In the introduction to Classic Crates, HARI Founding Director Dr. Marcyliena Morgan explains how jazz was the music of her parents and their world – a world she craved to enter and understand.

“When I first saw the album cover for “Coltrane Live at Birdland” my only reaction to the cover was that it was blurry. It was a photo of Coltrane’s fingers as he played his sax and the image created a feeling that his fingers were moving; they mimicked a whirlwind. My young mind didn’t get it and I only really paid attention to the music when my parents and their friends played the song “Alabama” – and cried.  Thankfully, the liner notes by Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka) provided the landscape from which to really hear Coltrane. Baraka’s notes helped me understand how channeling pain and love was, and remains, necessary to survive what had, could and would happen.  The 16th Street church bombing that killed four little girls in Alabama in 1963 was a raw emotion to them.”

The embrace of jazz in hiphop signals a generation building on the theme music and reality of their grandparents, parents, cousins, and neighborhoods while simultaneously adding their own truths. "The music and samples are shout-outs to the arts, sciences, history, politics, dreams of a people and nation...We will persist in the soundscape – to be dug in return.”

Here are 10 tracks and the songs they sample from jazz pioneers such as Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and more. Enjoy!


*We would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Ingrid Monson of the Jazz Research Initiative at the Hutchins Center and Peter Laurence of the Loeb Music Library for their contributions to the playlist.