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'Jazz Is The Mother Of Hip-Hop': How Sampling Connects Genres

Why do hip-hop producers gravitate toward jazz samples? For a mood, for sonic timbre, for a unique rhythmic component. Swing is a precursor to the boom-bap. "If you're a hip-hop producer that wants a lot of melodic stuff happening," pianist Robert Glasper says, "you're probably going to go to jazz first."

Glasper has lived in an area of overlap between jazz and hip-hop for more than two decades — and you can hear it in his piano playing, which often drifts into cyclical rhythms akin to a beat-maker's loops. It's all one and the same to Glasper: recasting the music of Miles Davis for an R&B audience or rocking live shows with Q-Tip; playing acoustic jazz with his trio or streamlined soul with his Grammy-winning Robert Glasper Experiment.

In this short doc, Glasper identifies three jazz samples, from tracks by Ahmad Jamal and Herbie Hancock, that have served as source material for famed hip-hop producers J Dilla and Pete Rock.


Producers: Alex Ariff, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael, Cameron Robert; Editors: Nick Michael, Morgan Noelle Smith; Animator: CJ Riculan; Sound Editor/Audio Engineer: Suraya Mohamed; Videographers: Nick Michael, Cameron Robert; Interviewer: Alex Ariff; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Senior Producer, Radio: Katie Simon; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann, Amy Niles; Special Thanks: Robert Glasper, Michael Gonik, Steinway Hall; Funded in part by: The Argus Fund, The Wyncote Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, Doris Duke Foundation


  • Ahmad Jamal Trio, "I Love Music," The Awakening (1970)
  • Nas, "The World Is Yours," Illmatic (1994)
  • Herbie Hancock, "Come Running To Me," Sunlight (1978)
  • Slum Village, "Get This Money," Fantastic, Vol. 2 (2000)
  • Ahmad Jamal, "Swahililand," Jamal Plays Jamal (1974)
  • De La Soul "Stakes Is High," Stakes Is High (1996)
  • Copyright 2022 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

    Alex Ariff
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