Bringing ’88 Back: A “Fancy” Feast Of Sampled Songs

Flashing back like, totally!

They’re so antsy, you already know.

With huge gains in airplay and sales, it’s easy to see why the new #1 atop the Hot 100 this week is “Fancy” by rapper Iggy Azalea and singer Charli XCX. Despite the inevitable calls that R&B and rap music is being whitewashed (again), it’s quite the achievement for both performers, who each score their first chart-topper on the big list. In turn, Azalea becomes only the fourth female rapper to hit the summit following Lauryn Hill (1998), Lil’ Kim (2001) and Shawnna (2003). Since she’s also featured on the #2 single this week, singer Ariana Grande‘s “Problem”, I’d say she’s having a pretty good year so far and the successes will only continue for her.

In recognition of this story and the song, one line came to mind in the first verse. It’s borrowed from rapper Nas‘s 2003 hit “Made You Look”: “Rooftop like we bringin’ ’88 back.” Of course, this line refers to holding parties up on the rooftop of a building. However, Azalea wasn’t born in 1988 and the song certainly doesn’t date back to then. Luckily, there have been plenty of songs in the past few years that have been “bringin’ ’88 back” through a sample or cover of a prior hit. Even since her first EP release in the summer of 2012, we’ve had these fun flashbacks…

FLO RIDA – “I Cry” (2012)
Sample: “Piano In The Dark”, Brenda Russell featuring Joe Esposito (#6, June)

His songs have sampled everyone from Dead Or Alive to Eiffel 65 to Etta James, so I guess it’s not a surprise that the rapper made it on here. “Piano”, of course, was an unexpected comeback smash for Russell. “Cry” marks a rare case where both a single and the song it sampled climbed to the same peak on the Hot 100; it went to #6 just before Christmas in 2012.

SEBASTIAN MIKAEL featuring WALE – “Last Night” (2013)
Sample: “Nite And Day”, Al B. Sure! (#7, July)

Originally born in Sweden and then based in Boston during his college years, this 24-year-old took on this classic from the New York singer, which also charted as a sample for acts like LL Cool J and P.M. Dawn. Mikael’s debut release went top ten on the Urban chart in December and broke the top 40 at Rhythm radio earlier this year. His current single is “Forever”.

TO BE ONE – “Please Don’t Go Girl” (2014)
Sample: “Please Don’t Go Girl”, New Kids On The Block (#10, October)

This trio of teens from New Jersey has yet to fully break on the pop scene, but with the longtime support of SiriusXM’s two pop channels, Atom Factory recently serviced this to CHR radio to minimal results. Unfortunately, it looks to be over. The original “Girl” put the New Kids on the map with their first of nine top ten hits in a row, all ranking between 1988 and 1990.

MARIAH CAREY – “One More Try” (2014)
Remake: “One More Try”, George Michael (#1, May)

As Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse prepares to debut in the top 3 on the Billboard 200, this remake seems to be a fan favorite from an otherwise troubling era. Carey has a history of bringing ’88 back when it comes to covering songs: in 1999, her take on Brenda K. Starr‘s #13 hit “I Still Believe” (which she originally sang backup on) eclipsed it, going to #4.

When it comes to my 1988 jams, I’ll still take those tunes from Breathe and Johnny Hates Jazz, with an occasional spin of Climie Fisher or Crowded House. That’s just a small sample of my favorites that colored the charts with “Electric Blue”, “Out Of The Blue” and “Pink Cadillac”. What’s your favorite ’88 throwback? Let me know! Comment below or find me on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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