Viva hip-hop: 5 marvelous Morrissey/Smiths samples



Tonight, July 13, Morrissey plays the Fitzgerald Theater. While much has been written about his highly influential and life-changing work both as a solo artist and with the Smiths, but less has been made about his (indirect) contributions to hip-hop/R&B via sampling. Yes, believe it or not, bits and pieces of Morrissey’s music have popped up in other artists' work, often from the least likely of candidates, but always delighting us with the perfect addition of Morrissey-ness. Here’s our picks for the best Morrissey/Smith samples of all time.

The Weeknd — “Enemy”

Drawing from the hook of the Smiths’ 1984 jam “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” the emotional resonance of the Weeknd allows for a perfect harmonious syncing with Morrissey’s source material. Given the devotion of both the Weeknd and Smiths fans, this is one of those sample moments that could possibly be a gateway life-changer for either of the groups’ fans.

Kid Rock — “Back From the Dead”

That’s right, folks: At one point Kid Rock listened to the Smiths enough to know when it was perfect to use a little bit of “How Soon is Now” in one of his songs. While we love the image of the young ”American Badass” crying some Detroit tears, looking for some Cowboy catharsis with the needle on a Smiths record. It could just very well be that Rock has a wider musical knowledge than he openly gives himself credit for and just knew the notes from “How Soon is Now” would fit perfectly in his 1993 volatile single “Back From the Dead.” Appearing on his long out-of-print and sought-after sophomore Polyfuze Method album, the samples at play here pretty much ensure the album is not likely to get the re-release treatment.

M.A.D. and Mexican Mack — “Profile of a Juvenile”

Not much is known about M.A.D. and Mexican Mack, other than their sole release, the EP We On the Island, is a fun find for obscure rap collectors. A sample heavy outing, “Profile of a Juvenile" has the Smiths pop up thanks again to “How Soon is Now.” Those elements run alongside ESG’s “UFO” and Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life,” which adds an additional level of cool for how well “How Soon is Now” sounds in the mix with standard classic rap breaks.

Liroy — “Scoobiedoo Ya”

Just how big of a worldwide smash was “How Soon is Now?” The classic Smiths single resonated with so many parts of the world that even Polish rapper Liroy got into the act by sampling it for his breakthrough 1995 single “Scoobiedoo Ya.” Proving that dope boom-bap hip-hop transcends even the language barrier, this 20-year-old track is such a cool, unique moment in time with a video that gives a rare glimpse into hip-hop's takeover on the other side of the world. 

Chiddy Bang — “All Over”

Finally, we come to rap duo Chiddy Bang’s “All Over,” which utilizes a number of sped-up Morrissey samples from his 2009 single “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris.” Sampling a recent song, even by such a respected artist like Morrissey, is always a risk, and Chiddy Bang took on the track less than two years after its release. Fortunately, the "All Over" is one of Chiddy’s finest moments, and makes us love the original recording of “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” that much more.