After a 15-plus year hiatus, legendary R&B singer El DeBarge has resurfaced with his new album, appropriately titled, Second Chance. His fifth studio album released under Interscope records is a dedication to the singer's struggles over the years and a tribute to his legendary falsetto, but as he continues to make unforgettable love songs the ’80s vocalist has evaluated his relevance to hip-hop and has combined the two on his latest album.

Featuring rappers like label-mate 50 Cent and Fabolous, DeBarge is crossing into an untouched audience and producing more than just samples on rap albums. With his upcoming mixtape, Switch Up the Format, DeBearge shows he can mix it up and give hip-hop what it’s missing.

"People think that hip-hop is a copycat and just merely a derivative of something else that already was," Debarge said. "But hip-hop is really authentic. It’s a breed of its own, [but] it emanates from the same source R&B emanates from [and] the same source good music emanates from, soul."

But before talking a mixtape release date, caught up with DeBarge and got his opinion on some hip-hop classics – all sampled by him of course. — Amber McKynzie

Original Song: "All This Love" by El Debarge

Song: "Ghetto Love" by Da Brat Feat. T-Boz

El Debarge: I like that. [The first time I heard that] I was impressed; I was flattered; I was blushing. I forgot I’ve heard that before. That’s funky.

Song: "Problems" by AZ

El Debarge:That’s funky too. [But] honestly, [I like] Da Brat and T-Boz better. It’s sexier, you know what I mean? It’s hood and sexy at the same time; it’s the best of both worlds. I think they both honored the original, but you know I’m gonna choose a woman every time.

Original Song: "I Like It" by Debarge

LL Cool J: “Make It Hot”

El Debarge: I didn’t hear “Make It Hot,” [but] I like it.

Warren G Feat. Mack 10 “I Want It All”

El Debarge: [Editors note: Before talking about the song, DeBarge C-walks throughout the room] I remember that one! [starts rapping along] "I want it all, brand-new socks and draws and I’m ballin’ every time I stop and talk to ya’ll. I want it all, all, all, all." Whew [Laughs]. Whoa, that’s the one right there. I like that one. That’s the West Coast boogie right there baby. [Sings] "Backyard boogie-oogie-oogie; West Coast boogie-oogie-oogie." That was Warren G and that Mack 10 right there baby. I want it all!

Busta Rhymes “Wheel of Fortune”

El Debarge:I’m very honored [about] that one. When people do songs and they got their own message and I could be a thought in there, that means I was in their heart somewhere. To know that I was a part of what influenced them to do music, that’s powerful. I mean that’s probably more powerful than a whole song re-sampled because his whole thought was somewhere else and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he thinks of me. To put me in there means I was in his spirit.

Original Song: "A Dream" by Debarge

2Pac: “I Aint Mad at Cha”

El Debarge: Wow, awesome. Awesome. Just listen to his flow and how tight he was, and his story. The music was great. I don’t know a person that could [have done it] better. Whoever that is, I don’t know them.

Original Song: Stay With Me by Debarge

Notorious B.I.G. feat. Faith Evans: "One More Chance [Remix]"

El Debarge I was just honored that he thought my song was something. You know, [that song] was a great testament to the gift, the music that God gave me. I’ve had some great people grapple on my music and use it to bring their message to the world, such as Tupac and Biggie. That’s a great honor you know. We ain’t talkin’ about no chumps here. I like to pay homage [to Biggie when I perform]. It was such a big song for him and for me, it’s only right. I mean how could I not?

Big L: "M.V.P."

El Debarge: I’ve never heard that, [but] I like that. That’s funky. I like the real drums on it. It’s got a little swagger thing to it [begins to beat box]. It’s like that real raw street thing with a touch of top notch on it.

Original Song: "Love Me In A Special Way"

AZ: "Love Me

El Debarge: That’s amazing. I just never would’ve thought...It’s like love reaches so many different parts of the world. I don’t care how down, how deep in the gutter you are, how deep in the hood you are, if you’re up on the hills of Beverly Hills or Mary Poppins, or you know you’re strung out somewhere, love can reach you. Everybody is trying to find love and express love. It’s just a great attribute to love.

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