Justify My Thug: A History of Madonna's Relationship With Hip-Hop

Justify My Thug: A History of Madonna's Relationship With Hip-Hop


Let's be honest, a Madonna x Lil' Wayne collaboration was inevitable, and not just because Weezy will hop on a track with anybody. See, the Queen of Pop has been working with MCs since big sis was still playing with Barbie. Not everyone knows about her roots in the genre, but Complex is here to explain all of that. Keep reading to check out our retrospective on Madonna's long history with hip-hop...

madonna_beasties

1985: Madonna Brings The Beasties On Tour
• In a move that puzzled many at the time, Madonna pegged The Beastie Boys as the opening act on her Like A Virgin Tour. Fans didn't respond well and booed the pre-Licensed To Ill rappers off stage at multiple stops.

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1986: The Queen Of Pop Goes Dutch
• Rap had barely been around for a decade, but Dutch group MC Miker G & DJ Sven tried their hand at the craft and scored big with "Holiday Rap," which sampled Madonna's 1983 hit of the same name (sans Rap). The song didn't do well in the US but reached #1 in 34 countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland, and of course, The Netherlands.

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madonna_justify

1990: Madonna Samples Public Enemy
• "Justify My Love," a #1 single from The Immaculate Collection, known for its controversial music video, prominently samples Public Enemy's "Security Of The First World" instrumental. PE didn't seek legal action against Madge or producer Lenny Kravitz because of their own sampling tendencies. Instead, they had Young Black Teenagers record a response record called "To My Donna" over the same beat. DJ Quik continued the trend, giving the song another stamp in the hip-hop world when he sampled it for Jay-Z's "Justify My Thug" years later.

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madonna_sex_book-1

1992: Rappers Get Close In The Sex Book
• Released alongside her Erotica album, the Queen's wildly successful Sex book showed love to a couple of rappers. Literally. Big Daddy Kane was seen in the midst of a ménage à trois with Madonna and Naomi Campbell. Vanilla Ice was pictured copping a feel too.

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1995: Madge Draws From Main Source
• Despite the wishes of her record label, Madonna released the hip-hop tinged "Human Nature" as a single from her Bedtime Stories album instead of a more pop-friendly track. The record sampled Main Source's "What You Need" (from the group's obscure, post-Large Professor album Fuck What You Think) and peaked at #46 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

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madonna_tupac

1995: Madonna And Tupac Link Up
• One year before Shakur's death, the couple briefly dated. In the 2007 book, Madonna: Like An Icon, friend Alison Clarkson revealed that Madonna "desperately wanted children and had various relationships with unlikely men." Rumor is, Tupac eventually dumped her after getting flack from his homies for dating a white girl.

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2003: Madge Spits A Hot 16
• Not only did buzz surround Madonna's American Life album due to its controversial anti-war message, but also because of her decision to rap on the project's single of the same name. Most people hated, but the woman has paid her dues. Let her drop a verse if she wants.

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2003: The Material Girl And Missy Fall Into The Gap
• By the early Aughts, collaborations between pop and hip-hop artists weren't as surprising but Madonna kept up her ties with the genre. Her Gap commercial with Missy Elliott was critically panned but popular nonetheless.

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madonna_krumping

2005: Madonna Supports The Krumping Movement
• Back when krumping seemed like something more than an epic fail, Madonna was one of the dance movements' first mainstream supporters. The hip-hop influenced style of dancing was heavily featured in her music video for "Hung Up" (which was directed by Rize's David LaChappelle) and reports circulated that she was learning how to do the dance herself for an upcoming tour.

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madonna_ye_p_timbo

2008: Madonna Goes Hard
Hard Candy, Madonna's last album with Warner Bros. (before signing a $150 million deal with Live Nation), was her most direct foray into hip-hop, as it was almost entirely written and produced by Timbaland and The Neptunes. Kanye even hopped on a track. It was released to mostly positive reviews and earned Madge her seventh #1 album.

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Tags: hip-hop, lil-wayne, madonna, rappers, revolver
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