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15 Rap Songs Influenced By Middle Eastern And Southeast Asian Music

“Big Pimpin” Jay Z Featuring UGK
Sample: Hossam Ramzy – “Khusara Khusara”
You know the riddling beat of Jay Z’s classic track, and you know the producer it came from (Timbaland, of course). However, years back, Timbo and Jay were sued over the sample, for five million dollars. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, but had it continued, that would’ve been the most expensive price for a beat…paid for by both the rapper and the producer.

“Make Me Better” Fabolous Featuring Ne-Yo
Sample: Sherine – “Al Sa’ban Aleh”
That hypnotic beat you hear on Fab’s track about being a better person because of his girl? Well it’s the opening instrumental to Sherine’s “Al Sa’ban Aleh.” Check out the original song when you have a moment, and you’ll hear that it sounds more romantic than the remake – even with Ne-Yo on the hook.

“Raise Up” Petey Pablo
Sample: Hossam Ramzy – “Enta Omri”
Petey Pablo’s brief success was due in part to a single about removing one’s shirt and mimicking a propeller with it over one’s head. Neat. However, beyond Petey’s instructions to “Raise up!” and remove your shirt, it’s the beat that traps you and has you topless by the end of the song. That’s Hossam Ramzy’s doing.

“Dance” Nas
Sample: Khaled – “Aïcha”
There isn’t anything particularly “exotic” about this sample, but it exists so there it is. Chucky Thompson did manage to find a subdued track to pull from, as Nas crafted one of his most heartfelt songs to date about his mother. With the dark mellow beat (and sample), Nas discusses his mom’s passing and turned a dedication into an instant classic.

“Hood Scriptures” Foxy Brown
Sample: Ragheb Alama – “Ya Boy”
Those who know this song by Foxy Brown love it, though it isn’t one of the Ill Na Na’s most noteworthy cuts. Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama is the sample she used on the hook, though it doesn’t exactly sound like it fits within the crux of the song. Let’s keep it 100 though: it sounds cool and that’s all that matters, right?

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