One of the reasons why I enjoy rap music so much is because of the many styles it has introduced, incorporated and influenced over the past decades. It’s quite interesting to see a song like Sting’s somber “Shape Of My Heart” (only one of the greatest songs of all time!) get flipped as the backdrop for Nas’ delusional rhymes on “The Message.”

Okay, that may not have been the best example. But I’m sure you know what I mean.

Rap has spent so much time being such a thugged-out militant-slash-street reporter that anything that remotely resembles softness was struck down by its critical Hand Of God, despite that many of the things considered soft today was wholly accepted during hip hop’s early stages. We are quick to clown and “no homo” anybody who slides into a pair or red, meatwatcher jeans, ignoring the fact tight, form-fitting garments were the choice fashion back in the day. Granted, androgyny was also a way of life for some those days also, so obviously times were greatly different then. But I’m straying from the point.

With more artists injecting a sense of emotional vulnerability into their raps the accompanying backdrops have also been altered, and instead of crate digging to use a lift a clip from an obscure artist from the 70s more producers are using everything from Vanessa Carlton to Paul Anka. So seeing Daft Punk being sampled into a song from Kanye five years ago was almost natural at that point; hell, I wish it had happened during my barely-out-of-high-school days. I can only imagine if something like “One More Time” was sampled before Kanye made it all trendy to do so.

“One More Time” bangs.

Speaking of Kanye, his G.O.O.D. Music compatriots have compelled him to explore sounds that are more suburban than street as well. Mr. Hudson and KiD CuDi’s influences were all over 808s & Heartbreak, resulting in a album that sounded like it could have came out in during the 1980s pop music rush. Now he’s linked up with Jay-Z and Mr. Alicia Keys himself, Swizz Beatz, on the over-the-top remix to “Power.” The original, which already sampled *checks Wikipedia* an obscure British rock band, was fine, but its rehash reminds me of effervescent “We Built This City” from the late, great Starship, before Swizz had to go and toss in a sample of “The Power” by Snap! to boot. All I need now is for C&C Music Factory to make a comeback, and my childhood cipher will be complete.

It’s actually quite refreshing to see new sounds being introduced, without it looking contrived like that random Nelly and Tim McGraw song. My hopes now are that I get to see someone sample my favorite Ace of Base song, “The Sign,” before I die, so that I may do so in peace.