Of the four records that Kanye West has released between May and June of 2018, perhaps the best song among the bunch is track two on the Kanye-produced Nas album Nasir.

The song is named ‘Cops Shot The Kid’ due to the rapid-fire four-word sample that permeates the song, firing over and over like a semi-automatic weapon, gunning down any sense of subtly.

It’s quite an achievement, with Nas and Kanye exchanging verses about police brutality. “Tell me, who do we call to report crime, if 911’s doing the drive by?” asks Kanye as the sample whirs in the background. It’s forceful stuff.

The sample is half a line from Slick Rick’s ‘Children’s Story’, a 1988 song that has become the most sampled hip hop song in history.

Other songs from the R’n’B canon have been sampled more – a six-second drum beat known as the ‘Amen Break’ from The Winstons’ 1969 song ‘Amen Brother’ has been used over two thousands times; the liberal and legally-dubious use of samples in hip hop means the actual figure is probably twenty times higher – but in terms of hip hop songs being lovingly plundered to create other pieces of art, no song beats ‘Children’s Story’ for sheer volume.

In 1995 ‘This Is How We Do It’ by Montell Jordan lifted the entire backing track, and turned it into a million-seller, which sat at #1 in the U.S. for seven weeks. Eminem has used it as the bass for a diss trick; his proteges D12 cribbed a line for a chorus.

Of course, as is customary in hip hop, Slick Rick’s backing track is also sampled: from ‘Nautilus’ from the 1974 album, One, by jazz musician Bob James. But, as often as the backing track is sampled, it is snatches of Slick Rick’s vocals that are more often lifted.

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“Now here’s a lil something that needs to be heard,” begins the song, and this certainly proved to be prescient. Thirty years later his one-liners about youth and police brutality still inspire countless creations.

Last year the lyrics were turned into a literal children’s book, a cautionary tale that is sadly still relevant now.

Slick Rick

Check out this list of the songs that have sampled sections of the song:

‘The House That Cee Built’ by Big Daddy Kane (1989)
‘Lyrical Assassin’ by Legion of Boom (1989)
‘If the Papes Come’ by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)
‘One Time Gaffled Em Up’ by Compton’s Most Wanted (1990)
‘Illegal Gunshot’ by Ragga Twins (1990)
‘Daddy Rich In The Land Of 1210’ by 3rd Bass (1991)
‘Throw Your Hands In The Air’ by Raw Fusion (1991)
‘Here We Go Again’ by Def Jef (1991)
‘Isn’t He Something’ by Lord Finesse (1992)
‘Christmas Is’ by Run-DMC (1992)
‘From Jackin’ To Rappin” by O.F.T.B. (1992)
‘Sorta Like A Psycho’ by RBL Posse (1992)
‘Knock Em Out Da Box’ by Naughty by Nature (1993)
‘County Line’ by Coolio (1994)
‘Local Hero’ by Hard 2 Obtain (1994)
‘Bumpin” by Dis-n-Dat (1994)
‘This Is What I Know’ by Rappin’ 4-Tay (1994)
‘This Is How We Do It’ by Montell Jordan (1995)
‘Touched’ by UGK (1996)
‘Party 2 Nite (Remix)’ by Ladae! feat. Chubb Rock (1996)
‘Brakes’ by De La Soul (1996)
‘Drama’ by Ras Kass feat. Coolio (1996)
‘Keep It Real’ (The Villain RMX) by MC Ren (1996)
‘Hoo-Bangin’ (WSCG Style)’ by Westside Connection feat. K-Dee, The Comrads and AllFrumTha I (1996)
‘Plucker’ by Young Zee (1996)
‘Anotha Hoe Story’ by N.O.H. Mafia (1996)
‘From Ruthless 2 Death Row (Do We All Part)’ by The D.O.C. (1996)
‘Just Another Case’ by Cru feat. Slick Rick (1997)
‘Pain (Forever)’ by Puff Daddy feat. G. Dep (1999)
‘Bad Guys Always Die’ by Dr. Dre and Eminem (1999)
‘Bottle Rocket’ by Swollen Members feat. Everlast, Evidence and Divine Styler (1999)
‘I Run This’ by Slick Rick (1999)
‘So Fresh’ by Will Smith feat. Biz Markie and Slick Rick (1999)
‘The Tribute’ by Nonpoint feat. Grimm (2000)
‘Skull & Crossbones’ by Del the Funky Homosapien (2000)
‘Me And My Nigga’ by JT the Bigga Figga (2000)
‘What It Is (Part II)’ by Flipmode Squad featuring Busta Rhymes and Kelis (2001)[9][10]
‘Gossip Folks’ by Missy Elliott feat. Ludacris (2002)
‘A Slick Response’ by Cormega (2002)
‘Can-I-Bitch’ by Eminem (2003)
‘Elevator Music’ by Ugly Duckling (2004)
‘Still Grimey’ by U-God & Sean Price & Prodigal Sunn & C-Rayz Walz (2004)
‘Bedtime Story’ by AZ (2005)
‘Save Me’ by Mary Mary (2005)
‘The Emperor’s Soundtrack’ by Lupe Fiasco (2006)
‘If I (Original)’ by Ali Vegas (2006)
‘In a Mess’ by Saigon (2007)
‘Catacomb Kids’ by Aesop Rock (2007)
‘So Ruff, So Tuff’ by Conejo (2007)
‘Children’s Story’ by Uncle Murda (2008)
‘Once Upon a Rhyme (Original Version)’ by Rakim (2008)
‘Don’t Ya Dare Laugh’ by B-Real feat. Xzibit and Young De (2009)
‘We Will Rob You’ by Raekwon feat. GZA, Masta Killa and Slick Rick (2009)
‘Once Upon a Time’ by La Coka Nostra (2009)
‘K-Town Story’ by Dumbfoundead (2009)
‘Light Up the Night’ by Black Eyed Peas (2010)
‘Gimme Da 90s’ by KRS-One and True Master (2010)
‘A Southern Story’ by Bobby Creekwater (2010)
‘Por Tus Pujidos Nos Hallaron’ by Akwid (2010)
‘Self Titled’ by Reks (2011)
‘Mind Yuh Business’ by Problem Child (2012)
‘Cops Shot The Kid’ by Nas (2018)

Check out ‘Cops Shot The Kid’ by Nas: