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The 50 Best R&B Songs That Flipped Rap Beats

47. Total f/ Black Rob "What About Us (Remix)" (1997)

Producer: Stevie J, Puff Daddy

Malcolm McLaren's "Hobo Scratch" was one of the earliest dalliances the controversial outsider had with hip-hop, released the same year as his massive hit "Buffalo Gals." Once labeled a "culture vulture" by Afrika Bambaataa, McLaren was one of the first to successfully commodify hip-hop to the outside world. But his place in hip-hop history can't be ignored simply because it was a problematic one. "Hobo Scratch" is only the first McLaren song that will make an appearance on this list, and listening to it, it's easy to see why.

The song captured the aggressive, percussive style of early hip-hop music, rather than the more polite disco feel that typically resulted when labels tried to transition rap music to wax. As was Puff Daddy's wont, sampling '80s dance hits and transforming them into accessible modern hits was the order of the day. In this case, he grabbed the heavy synthesizer slabs from "Hobo Scratch," giving Total an authentic hip-hop feel by reusing an interloper's interpretation. —David Drake

Inspiration: Malcolm McLaren and World's Famous Supreme Team "Hobo Scratch" (1983)

Producer: Trevor Hom

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