February 17, 2011

Rock songs with a rap section?

When the hit song "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang introduced the average listener to rap music in 1979, rock groups took notice, some of them even working in a rap sound to their own songs. How extensive was this borrowing, though?

I'm not counting rap covers of a rock song, like Run-D.M.C.'s version of "Walk This Way" with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, but original rock songs with some rap element to them. Also, I'm restricting this to rock music, not alternative / emo / indie or nu metal like Korn and the Bloodhound Gang, so like 1992 at the latest.

I can only think of three from browsing stuff that I own, and I'm too lazy right now to rummage through every song in my mental closet to come up with others.

"Rapture" by Blondie (1980)
"Eyes Without a Face" by Billy Idol (1983)
"Calling All Nations" by INXS (1987)

Any others? The first two were big hits, while the third is a good song but never released as a single. So by my admittedly cursory look, it seems that the interest of white rock musicians in rap didn't last much longer than five years.


  1. Faith No More - Epic

  2. Always thought Shook Me All Night Long by ACDC was rap after rap got popular.

    I think it was more an accident than intentional.

  3. What do you consider a rock musician?

    I can think of Linkin Park.

  4. Good call on "Epic." That was a big hit and it was pretty late in the lifetime of rock. So scratch the "only lasted 5 years" remark.

  5. Everything that Rage Against The Machine ever recorded.

  6. Korn does some rapping in their songs, but look at a lot of Jay-Z and Kanye albums and there's usually at least one rock collab on it

  7. "Give it Away" by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

  8. Off the top of my head:

    Anthrax - I'm the man. They also recorded a Public Enemy song. Assuming heavy metal counts as a variety of rock music.

    Rush - Roll the Bones. More solid rock credentials, but probably not a very instructive example (haha).

  9. Eye's Without a Face didn't have a rap section, did it?

  10. Oh yeah, "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys, although they're more pop than rock.

    Another good call on "Give It Away."

    The bridge of "Eyes Without a Face" is pretty rappy... at least for rap as it was in 1983. In the liner notes to Rebel Yell, Billy Idol says they were working in as many different styles as they could, after most of the juice had been squeezed out of punk rock.

  11. Another pop song:

    Human League - Human

    there's a Yorkshire rap in the middle.

  12. The Clash-This is Radio Clash from 1981 is one of the earliest rap songs from a rock band.

  13. The original Aerosmith "Walk This Way" has rap elements - that's why Run-DMC could do a cover which wasn't really that different.

    Does Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire" count?

  14. Subterranean Homesick Blues? or is that folk/rap?


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