7. Lauryn Hill "Ex-Factor" (1998)
Producer: Lauryn Hill
Everybody wants to talk about the good old days. While it isn't immediately obvious, Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor" does sample Wu-Tang's "Can It All Be So Simple." It was a bit ironic for Ms. Hill to give Wu-Tang props just a few years after the Fugees took subliminal shots at the spaghetti-slurping mafioso dons of Raekwon's Cuban Linx on The Score (thought maybe this goes hand-in-hand with the Fugees' dissolution).
What's sonically unique about this record is that hallmark of RZA's style is his lo-fi prowess, yet Lauryn's version was as polished as they come. "Ex-Factor" essentially burnishes the sample in a layer of gloss. But that was always the thing about Lauryn: she might have been all pop-pristine on the surface, but buried deep within was always a realness, and that true talent always found a way to shine through. —Insanul Ahmed
Inspiration: Wu-Tang Clan "Can It Be All So Simple" (1993)