Hip Hop & Connection to Roots

Nas – I Can 

I Can” is a very informational and meaningful hip hop song that was created in 2003 by Nas. “I Can” is the second single from Nas’s album, God’s SonNas dedicated this song to the youth, mainly young black kids.

Image via Wikipedia

Cover of "God's Son"

He uses his status and creativity in the hip hop culture to send a positive message to our youth with this song. Nas was a very popular hip hop artist during the time he composed this song. He uses kids in his song as well as in the video to help attract more kids to listen to the positively influential song. This song is very meaningful and informational to kids, especially Black kids. As far as the video, there are many things used and shown that link back to African roots. This shows how important and influential Africa is in our present society.

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Hip-Hop & Sampling


In music, the term sampling is the act of taking a portion, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song or piece.  This can be done from a machine called a sampler.

In the early 90’s, sampling was essential to the culture of hip hop.  If you listen to hip hop tracks from this time period, most beats are sampled from old school tracks.  You might hear songs from many different genres in different songs or even combined in one track.

Some tracks are played exactly how it was made in the past, and some are cut and pasted from pieces or parts of the old school track’s instrumental.


One group who essentially and consistently included jazz in their songs was – A Tribe Called Quest.

Here’s a song from their debut album The Low End Theory.  The song is called Jazz (We’ve Got).

  • The drums in this track is actually a sample from Five Stairsteps – Don’t Change Your Love – (1968).
  • The Jazz track that is sampled in this song is Lucky Thompson – Green Dolphin Street – (1972).

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