Cos and Effect: The Bill Cosby Hip-Hop Samples

Categories: History

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MC Bill Cosby
This Saturday, September 7th at the Westchester County Center, comedy legend Bill Cosby will be performing his time-tested classic brand of stand-up. From the stage to the television to on record, The Cos has touched several generations with his many comedic gifts. His impact is clear even on the hip-hop generation, who've expressed their admiration through incorporating snippets of his work into their songs. In honor of Mr. Cosby returning to the area, here are our picks for the most memorable Bill Cosby hip-hop samples.

See also: A Very Long Conversation with Comedian Reggie Watts About Williamsburg, Touring with Conan, and Brian Eno Birthday Parties That Is Totally Worth the Read


Boogie Down Productions - "Illegal Business" 1988
The first wave of hip-hop pioneers were likely to have grown up on Cosby's Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids cartoon. As a result, the show's rich score and distinct vocal performances have found their way into some of the most memorable cuts of the era. On Boogie Down Production's second album By All Means Necessary, "Illegal Business" was created largely around a few seconds from an episode of Fat Albert. MC/Producer El-P considers this one of his all-time favorite samples.


De La Soul - "In The Woods" 1993
The most used sample from a Bill Cosby recording is probably his take on Lee Dorsey's "Get Out My Life Now Woman" from his 1968 Bill Cosby Sings Hooray For the Salvation Army Band album. A song whose many incarnations have lead to the drums being prime collectors' pieces for producers, DJs and record enthusiasts alike, Cosby's rendition has been heard in tracks from De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Gang Starr, and Chubb Rock.


Quasimoto - "Real Eyes" 2000
Perhaps the most ambitious use of sampling Cosby was heard in Quasimoto's "Real Eyes." Here, producer Madlib augments an already sample heavy soundscape with several clips from the 1971 Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs album. It's a testament to Madlib's abilities how so many rapidfire quick cuts of Cosby's dialogue can make an effective introduction for the track.

See also: Hip-Hop's 25 Best Weed Songs

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