I Need Theme Music

Hip-hop has no shortage of trends; some have stuck while others just come and go. Two days ago I was on twitter wondering what happened to everyone’s throwback sports jerseys, it’s a damn shame what happened to Mitchell & Ness. And at times I wonder what’s gonna be next after Auto-Tune is completely played out. Still, one of my favorite hip-hop trends was the sampling of TV Show and movie theme songs.
In the late ‘90’s a gang of rap acts (mostly from N.Y.) stopped diggin’ in the crates and started looking to the boob tube for inspiration. Here are some of my favorites. – Rob the Music Ed

Killarmy “Wake Up” - I remember absolutely losing my mind when the RZA sampled “The Incredible Hulk” theme song for Killarmy’s “Wake Up” off of their 1997 debut Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars. The rhymes were so-so to def, but overall the Shoalin soldiers delivered a pretty dope album and to think if it wasn’t for the Hulk I probably would have never picked it up.

Cam’Ron “357” – Before he was all cookies and apple juice’d out, Killa made his 1998 splash over a flip of the “Magnum P.I.” opening theme. Producer Digga slowed down the sample, looped it up and added some hard ass kicks underneath. But what really put this joint over the top was Cam’s lyrics; “I leave a nigga black and blue like a pair of Pennys” is still one of my favorite rap lines EVER!

Busta Rhymes “Turn It Up/Fire It Up” Remix – By the time, Busta Rhymes recorded this late ‘90’s banger the trend was already in full-swing, so sampling “Knight Rider” seemed to be a pretty obvious choice. It would’ve been dope if the Dungeon Dragon could’ve got Michael Knight for the post-apocalyptic video, oh well. This was illy nonetheless!

Three 6 Mafia “Who Give A Fuck Where You From” – Real talk: If you’re still fronting on Three 6 Mafia, you’re straight up rapper racist. The homie Jackpot reminded me of this BANGER off of Kay Slay’s 2004 Streetsweeper Vol. 2: The Pain From The Game album. For the lead single Paul and Juice flipped the “Transformers” theme song into a crunked up anthem. Listen again, because if you weren’t paying attention you’re sure to miss it.

Ghostface “Good Times” – I’m not sure what happened to this joint. I’m assuming that GFK couldn’t clear the sample, but somewhere around 2001 Pretty Toney rocked over a flip of the “Good Times” theme song. I remember buying the white label 12-inch off of some website. I had the song on a Kay Slay mixtape, but couldn’t stand all the fucking drops. This song is DY-NO-MITE!

Jay-Z “People’s Court” – “Hard Knock Life” is no doubt Hov’s greatest theatrical flip, but “People’s Court” joint is a hidden gem. Originally recorded for Vol.2, “People’s Court” ended up on the cutting room floor, but then soon surfaced on DJ Clue’s Backstage soundtrack.

Cage “Agent Orange” – NY underground mainstay Necro looked to Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” to help lace Cage’s indie debut. ‘Til this day this remains one of the greatest hip-hop cinematic flips. Plus Cage’s weird-yet-dope rhymes made this 12-inch an underground classic. Dude said, “I’ll fuck your head up like cornrows put in by blind giants” and has been doing just that ever since.

Cam’Ron “Let Me Know” & “Harlem Streets” – Okay Killa officially owns this category. In addition to the “Magnum P.I.” flip, Cam and producer Digga rocked over the Monday Night Football theme for 2000’s “Let me Know,” but he didn’t stop there. In 2004 he flipped “Hill Street Blues” for “Harlem Streets.” Still it isn’t all good, as hip-hop hasn’t completely forgiven Cam for his wack rendition of the “Night Court” theme on the “Horse and Carriage” remix—aside from the Pun verse there was NOTHING good about that song. Oh yeah and props to Jesse for pointing out Killa’s “Ghetto Facts of Life,” even if the song was a complete and utter FAIL!

Souls of Mischief “Cab Fare”- You can never really front on Bob James because he’s provided hip-hop with the illest samples hands down. Still when it came to the Souls of Mischief’s banger “Cab Fare,” Mr. Mardi Gras refused to clear the rights. Who would’ve thought the theme song to a sitcom starring Danny DeVito and Andy Kaufman could be so hip-hop. Go figure.

Mobb Deep “G.O.D. Part III” & “It’s Mine” – Hip-hop and Scarface go hand and hand, so any Tony Montana jacks are to be expected, but maybe Mobb Deep’s Havoc went too far. On both 1996’s “G.O.D. Part III” and 1999’s “It’s Mine,” Havoc put his MPC 2000 to work sampling from the cult classic flick not once, but twice. Luckily the results on both were illy, even though to this day I still wonder what the fuck Nas was doing at the Barbara Streisand concert. That ain’t gangsta.

Curren$y “The Jet-Son” – My most favorite flip of late has been by XXL Freshman alum Curren$y. On his latest album This Ain’t No Mixtape, the homie Spitta and his FS Jets Squad rocked over “The Jetsons” theme song. To say that newcomer Monsta Beatz killed this is an understatement, obliterate is a much better word.

  • Pierzy

    People’s Court is amazing…one of his most clever songs.

    And I immediately thought of the Horse & Carriage (Remix)…he had Silkk on that!?!

  • Pierzy

    And I just remember when Luda flipped the He-Man theme on the “Pre-Release Therapy” mixtape. That sh!t was sick!

  • PARIS PERSHUN

    HAS ANYBODY HEARD THAT B.A.N.(BITCH ASS NIGGA) TRACK ON DAVID BANNER LAST CD….. HE TOOK THE SCENE FROM BOONDOCKS WHERE GRANDPA WAS FIGHTING THAT BLIND NIGGA!!!! I LIKED THAT ONE TOO!!

    (LEANS BACK AND TURNS “B.A.N.” WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY THE FUCK UP))

    • Chris Cash

      LMAO Charles Hamilton flip a boondocks scene of Riley saying “nigga u gay” its a funny ass song.

      • http://www.datpiff.com/Dont_Panic_Entertainment_Max_Profit_The_Drugs_Ar.m44293.html Max Profit

        Cam & Santana “The Facts Of Life” – HOT -

    • latino heat

      @Paris P
      that hook to that Banner song stays stuck in my head. and i haven’t even heard that song in months.

  • BeerGangsta

    J your hating azz need to do something different. You left Damon and Biggs for more money. Dash put you on and you diss him. You are a Bitch! Fuck Beyonce! Nas killed your azz on the mic. You are a dick rider. You road Dr. Dre dick for a long time. Your ugly smile. Look like JJ on good time.

    • Pierzy

      Wow – that’s a lot of hate…and a ton of spelling mistakes too

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

      ^^^Damn man, you changed your screen name just to keep hating on cats, aye? Smh……

      Yo Rob, what you know about that “Cab Fare” fam?

      Rumor has it that that joint was originally a song from their demo. My homeboy from the bay had a supposed copy of that demo waaaaaaaaaaay back in the day. I found that shit floating around the Net like a month ago.

      Who was that with “The Price is Right”? I think it was Digga rapping on it too, right?

      What about that classic “Nightmare On My Street”? Corny, yeah I know, but still, honorable mention.

      You should’ve thrown some video game pieces in too, like Cocoa B’z with Super Mario & Lil’ Flip with Pac Man (dun-dunda dun-dundun).

      • Pierzy

        What up Grand$ – don’t forget about my hometown dude Beanie Sigel also ripping PacMan on his debut

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

          P!

          I’m sorry, I thought I’d get a pass for shouting out Will Smith b/k/a Big Willie Styles (“Nightmare”). You know you had that album.

          Beans did rip it, but “Game Over” was a banger.

        • Pierzy

          “Nightmare” was actually not that bad except for that awful Freddy Krueger impression.

          I actually like “Just One Of Those Days” much better. Ha!

        • HERM

          Dope Drop.

          What’s up Tony Grand$, what’s up Pierzy?

          I was just thinking about dope video game beats too. I don’t know if you already checked them out, but there’s Jedi Mind Trick’s The Wolf, (Max Payne) Percee P and Diamond D’s Two Brothers from the Gutter, (Contra) and Kool G Rap and Prinz’s We G’s (Final Fantasy VII). Those are a few of my faves. Peep ‘em.

        • FlapJack

          Cam straight killed that Mercenairies 2 commercial too

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

          I saw that commercial & stopped what I was doing like, “awww, this joint is hella fresh!”.

          Did not know it was Cam. Ha! That’s what’s up…

        • FlapJack

          nah, he just rapped on it. It’s call “oh no you didn’t”

          Found it on some mixtape or nahright or whatever, been bangin it ever since

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

          Oh yeah, I know. Actually, what caught my attention was the game graphics. I knew right off that it was “Mercenaries 2″, because I had the first one. Damn, that was a fun ass game.

          Then I heard the song, that shit was knocking. I’m glad you said the name, which was the hook that I couldn’t remember. See if I can find it somewhere on these here internets.

  • Chris Cash

    I dont know how it could be done but someone should flip the original “Martin” theme just because the show was my shit.

    Didnt Nelly an the St.Lunatics flip that jeffersons theme?

  • The Fedz

    Not sure of the name of the track but Cam killed the sportscenter intro on a purple haze mixtape.

  • http://freedomblogging.org Adam

    You’re missing some big ones, like the Beasties sampling Mister Ed’s theme song on “Time to Get Ill” or DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince sampling the “I Dream of Jeannie” theme on “Girl’s Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.”

  • ri067953

    Yo, somebody needs to flip that funky ass theme song from the Barney Miller theme song. The first 15 seconds of that shit is some funky jazzy shit.

    • Reemycks!

      Queen Latifah’s Pricess of the Posse Remix

    • Jamal7Mile

      Dang!! You stole my ideal! Barney Miller is THA SHIT!!! I wish to God I could hear that “Cab Fare” jawn. I read about it YEARS ago and I still can’t find it. I’m about to check YouTube one more time.

  • Gloveson

    I can’t believe no said ‘Take Everything You Got’- D-Blocks rip of the Cheers tune, shit was crazy

    • El Tico Loco

      D Bock’s Brand New Life flipped that Growing pains music.

    • Pierzy

      Damn, Gloveson, good call! D-Block is my favorite crew in music and that song is one of my favorites…can’t believe I forgot that one.

      • Gloveson

        Thanks Pierzy,

        think i hav one more…….does Gatman & Robin count??

  • http://twitter.com/sethp SethP

    Ha, Ri0 I bought a CD with all TV show theme songs specifically so I could make a barney Miller beat back in the day. I’m definitely a fan of this genre. I have a whole itunes playlist with just hip-hop TV tracks:

    Ali Vegas “From the Ghetto” – Benson
    Probably my all-time non-Cam TV-Hop track, it has swinging drums and bass like Hard Knock Life, plus Vegas doing his Jay & Nas impressions at the end.

    Lauryn Hill “Sweetest Thing (Mahogany Remix)” – SWAT
    OK, so the part that was sampled was from the extended version of the theme song, but I’ll bend the rules for a break like this.

    B Rich “Whoa Now” – The Jeffersons
    I can never get a handle on how popular this song was. Some people never heard of it, but if you lived anyhere near B-More you know this one.

    Ghostface “Gunz & Razors” – Spider-Man (60s)
    Theodore Unit – “Who We Are” – Scooby Doo
    Two different projects, but the Ted Unit went in on two old cartoon themes.

    Juelz Santana “Mic Check” – Roots Mural Theme
    Before dipset broke up, Juelz continued the tradition with this sample from the Quincy Jones mini-series score.

    Cam & Juelz “Facts of Life”
    Not the best Cam TV sample (actually the worst) and is Kay Slay the only person to have gotten the original?

    Ludacris, LL “Fatty Girl (Green Lantern Remix)” – Fat Albert
    OK, so this was only a mixtape track but the evil genius took a song that kinda sounded like the cosby cartoon theme, and through the magic of not needing to clear samples, made the beat sound the way it was meant to be.

    Three 6 Mafia “Stomp” – Unsolved Mysteries
    This theme song is so damn creepy. Thee 6 realized this.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      “B Rich “Whoa Now” – The Jeffersons
      I can never get a handle on how popular this song was. Some people never heard of it, but if you lived anyhere near B-More you know this one.”

      amen, seth. i was just about to post that!

    • latino heat

      @ SethP
      i remember that B Rich video on Rap City back in the day. i don’t know why but i just couldn’t take dude seriously as a rapper. my patna tried to tell me the album was hot but i never bothered listening to it. i got a free copy that’s still sitting on the shelf unopened.

      • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

        80 dimes ain’t a bad album. it’s definitely for local consumption tho. whoa now is the only track that sounds like that. otherwise, b-rich is pretty much trynna go in b-more style.

        • latino heat

          now you got me curious because it got the Ron Mex stamp of approval. i’m gonna blow the dust off of it and give it a listen.

    • http://myspace.com/devitan Devi Gargon

      Thank You Seth P., I always thought that was swat, its on sweetest thing, cnn thug paradise, and funk flex nuthing but flavor 12″(craig mack spat on it!!)…but I dont have my cnn record with me, and i cant ever find a instrumental to sweetest thing remix ANYWHERE! I’ve been wanting to chop that up BAAAAAADDD!!!

      Gov. Devi F. Gargon I
      1,000,000

  • Reemycks!

    LL Cool J’s I’m Bad = The Theme From SWAT

  • jojo

    Bus also did a sample of the Psycho theme for “Gimme some Mo”

  • El Tico Loco

    Dilated Peoples Work the Angles flipped the theme from “Fists of Fury”, and Dr Dre flipped “Enter the Dragon” on that joint w/ Scarface and Ice Cube.

  • Jamal7Mile

    Fat Albert was dope! Hey Hey HEEEY!!

  • latino heat

    strictly for my Bay Area people, Keak Da Sneak used that Pink Panther sample for There Go Keak Da Sneak. i’m not even a Keak fan like that but i got to give him that one.

    also Dipset used The Facts Of Life sample on a mixtape joint

    Pierzy already said H & C remix, that was my joint when it came out. i forgot about it till a couple weeks ago when i was going through my old mixtapes.

  • ROBOT

    SethP got it on lock,damn peeps,you did your homework.

  • Epinz

    Smif n wessin- superbroolyn
    Little brother-minstrel show( not a qualify for this blog, but they pretty much made they’re own show on that album,classic!)

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    Cam killed the Night Court theme.

    Ju Don’t Knowwwwwww

    Ras Kass did a little somethin with the old NBA on NBC theme.

  • Young History in the Making

    well my nigga mike jones flipped the pac-man joint and yeah i remember the “sportscenter” track cam’ron did…also yall need to check out the track that paul wall and chamillionaire did called “instant replay” where they wrecked the nba on nbc theme…..crazy….also the given one where weezy did called “sportscenter” on the dedication 2 and last but not least….luda wreckin the austin powers theme on “number one spot”….

  • latino heat

    i posted this about 2 hours ago but since this piece of shit site didn’t post it,
    strictly for my Bay Area people, Keak Da Sneak used The Pink Panther sample for There Go Keak Da Sneak. i’m not even a Keak fan like that but even i got to give him that one.
    i would say to check You Tube for it but i just looked and they don’t have it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    DOOM and Madlib is known to do alot of things with tv shows samples. That “Lightworks” track off of DOOM’s new album is sick!

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    i got one you all forgot.

    doug e. fresh & slick rick – “the show”

    they freaked the inspector gadget shit

    • Jamal7Mile

      That’s a good one, Mexico!

      Pull out your first Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince cassette (yeah man, cassette, and no not “He’s The DJ…” but the one before that). Listen to Rock The House where Ready Rock C does the human beat box to Sanford and Son, as well as others.

      I wish I still had that TAPE but you know how easy (not!!) it was to hold on to a hot tape back in them days.

      Oh yeah, who flipped Fat Albert and The Junkyard Gang??? I missed that one!!

  • JCITYHUSTLA617

    THERES A NEW SONG THAT FLIPS A SAMPLE 2 THE LIVING SINGLE SHOW BY LOJ CALLED THE KICK MAKES LOVE TO THE SNARE HERES A LINK

    http://sharebee.com/f76ab39e

  • Monty B.

    MF Doom flipped Spiderman & His Amazing Friends on the first joint on Mmm… Food.

  • Jayme W

    How could you forget the number TV theme flip of all time……………..Lord Diggah-”My Flow Is Tight” where he flipped the Price Is Right theme music…..shame on you!!

  • BGZ

    ‘prised no one mentioned Nas’ Get Ur Self a …, even though I thought it sucked (and I’m a Nas fan).

  • capcobra

    dipset-what’s really good is coming to america when king jaffe gets to ny.

  • sATaLyte

    Well damn, can a nigga learn how to embed the mp3′s for listening consumption please?

  • http://www.myspace.com/nineoh3 B

    Also y’all should check “What Ya Life Like” by Beanie Sigel from his first album The Truth….It was produced by Robert “Shim” Kirkland and he flips the theme song to the movie Hard Rain pretty nice!!

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