Rap artists continue to be a paycheck for pianist Bob James

Crossover jazz musician Bob James has made a decent living from successful commercial releases, including big selling albums working with the likes of Earl Klugh and David Sanborn. But an extremely successful branch of his career comes from his ongoing popularity with many of the top rap artists in the business.

The music of James is hardly a new attraction to rappers. The trend started with rappers as early as Grandmaster Flash and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.

Below, hear Bob James’ tune Nautilus, and then hear it sampled in DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince tune Jazzy’s Groove (first noticed around the :28 second mark).

Since then, rappers like Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Warren G and Jamie Foxx went on to sample the music of Bob James, and most recently big name rappers like Jay-Z, Guru, Consequence and Busta Rhymes have used his samples (Jay-Z also used Nautilus in his huge hit, 99 Problems).

Perhaps his success with hip-hop artists was the inspiration for his unique trio project featuring Bob on keyboards, Dave McMurray on sax and DJ Rob Swift on turntables. The trio called BJ McSwift, featured heavy elements of hip-hop.

Here is a short list of some songs that rappers used samples from Bob James songs in:

Artist: Bob James
Track title: Nautilus
Album’s name: One
Release year: 1974

sampled by:

Artist: Main Source feat. Nas, Joe Fatal and Akinyele
Track’s title: Live At The Barbeque
Album’s name: Breaking Atoms
Release year: 1991

Artist: Bob James
Track’s title: Sign of the Times
Album’s name: Sign of the Times
Release year: 1981

sampled by:

Artist: Warren G (feat. Nate Dogg)
Track’s title: Regulate
Album’s name: Regulate…G Funk Era
Release year: 1994

Artist: Bob James and Earl Klugh
Track’s title: Love Lips
Album’s name: One on One
Release year: 1979

sampled by:

Artist: Onyx
Track’s title: Last Dayz
Album’s name: All We Got Iz Us
Release year: 1995

Artist: Bob James
Track’s title: Shamboozie
Album’s name: Hands Down
Release year: 1982

sampled by:

Artist: Rakim
Track’s title: Guess Who’s Back?
Album’s name: The 18th Letter
Release year: 1997

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