2:58 pm - 06/14/2011

Ten Best Songs To Sample Human Nature

Last week, I posted some new music from Detroit's own Elzhi, who flipped Nas' "It Ain't Hard to Tell" into his own tribute to the classic track -- both of which sample Michael Jackson's "Human Nature."

I also mentioned Chris Brown's "She Ain't You," a rising track on Billboard which also samples "Human Nature." And, last week, SWV added some vocals to Brown's track for a remix -- since they themselves sampled "Nature" for "Right Here" back in 1993.

That got me to thinking -- just how many songs over the years have used a loop or interpretation of "Human Nature?" It charted high back in the day, but probably not as readily identifiable as say, "Billie Jean," "Thriller" or "Beat It."

But although Jackson has a cavalcade of hits, "Human Nature" probably turns up just as often in other reinterpretations just as much as those aforementioned chart-toppers. So, here are ten of the best uses of "Human Nature":

1. SWV - "Right Here (Human Nature remix)": The trio had released another version of "Right Here" prior to this one, but it fell flat on the charts. This version, with Jackson's blessing, was included on the "Free Willy" soundtrack (alongside Jackson's "Will You Be There," the other big hit from the album) and became a summer hit in 1993. And that "S-double-U-V!" you hear is the voice of a young Pharrell Williams.

2. John Mayer - "Human Nature": It's easy forget that this womanizing d-bag with a racist penis actually plays good music from time to time. One of the highlights of Jackson's memorial service two years ago was this jazzy rendition of the track that reminds us that Mayer is one of the best guitarists of our generation -- even if it hurts to admit it.

3. Nas - "It Ain't Hard to Tell": This song actually samples a ton of other songs besides "Human Nature," including (deep breath) "N.T." by Kool & the Gang, "Long Red" by Mountain, "Why Can't People be Colors Too" by Whatanauts, "Slow Dance" by Stanley Clarke, "What Do You Want From Me Woman" by the Blue Jays and "Sorcerer of Isis" by Power of Zeus.

4. Tyra B. - "Givin' Me a Rush": Tyra is and was one of the few R&B singers to have a few charting independent hits ("Country Boys," "Still in Love") before being noticed by a major label, but in this case it didn't really work out in her favor. Outright sampling of hits from the past (Rihanna's "S.O.S." and Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" were out around this time) seemed to guarantee a top hit, but not even the power of Jackson and Paula Abdul combined (the other sample is "Rush Rush") could boost this song to the top. Sad, because this song actually isn't that bad.

5. Chris Brown - "She Ain't You": Sample overload! It's sung in the style of SWV's aforementioned hit and of course uses a loop from Jackson. But the real question is, who is this song really about? I have a guess.

6. Chris Brown featuring SWV, "She Ain't You (remix)": It's been reported that SWV is attempting a comeback, so what perfect timing? The ladies, still in fine form, lent some new lyrics and vocals to Brown's version of their song. How meta. But do you feel comfortable with 22-year-old Brown exchanging thoughts about sex and relationships with 41-year-old Coko?

7. Ne-Yo featuring LL Cool J, "So Sick (remix)": It's not a secret that Ne-Yo considers himself one of the heirs to Jackson's throne (although he can go overboard with those assertions sometimes). He called on LL for a remix to his first No. 1, which got some minor airplay on R&B radio at the time.

8. Miles Davis, "Human Nature": Game recognize game. Not too long after the release of "Thriller," Davis recorded his own version of "Human Nature" for his 1985 album, "You're Under Arrest." It featured another cover of another big hit from the era: Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time."

(My favorite tbqh)

9: Elzhi, "It Ain't Hard to Tell": Of course we had to close it out with one of our favorites. We'll ask the same question we asked before: How many local landmarks can you spot in this video?

Bonus: Aaliyah, "Journey to the Past": Hear those ad-libs toward the end of the song? Scroll to 3:15

MJ Sauce

SWV, Miles Davis and Nas did it best tbqh
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patentpending 14th-Jun-2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
Watching him perform this son on the This Is It dvd gives me chills every time. He was still capable of blowing people less than half his age out of water.

Nothings better than the original.~
lovewalk 14th-Jun-2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
And it was only rehearsals! :)
tiddlywinks103 14th-Jun-2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
ikr? so damn flawless.
leucocrystal 15th-Jun-2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Truth. That voice is just incredible. I remember losing it a little when the first trailers for TII came out and you could hear bits of his rehearsal of "Human Nature".
mediapass 15th-Jun-2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
IA <3
pistol_eyes 14th-Jun-2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
Whoa totally forgot about the Nas sample.
I really liked John Mayer's rendition at the memorial. He's still an ass tho.
SWV's still stands as the best.
brosling 14th-Jun-2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
i looooooooooooove john prayer's rendition of human nature
so so so good
eye_browz 14th-Jun-2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
konichiwacobra 14th-Jun-2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'll just take SWV and call it a day (it was on the free willy soundtrack? I LOVED THAT MOVIE).

Human Nature is by far my favorite MJ song.
joshlymanftw 14th-Jun-2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
that SWV song was my jam when I was a kid. #iamold
dancing_supasta 14th-Jun-2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
Human Nature is my favourite MJ song! I love it!
bertha_ 15th-Jun-2011 05:52 am (UTC)
sitakhet 14th-Jun-2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
omg Journey to the Past

Fucking love Anastasia so damn much
lovewalk 14th-Jun-2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
God, I love this song. (and miss him so much..)

pistol_eyes 14th-Jun-2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
How could anyone watch his performances and not think that he didn't/couldn't get any ass?

So secky.
brucelynn 14th-Jun-2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
meepstah 15th-Jun-2011 01:06 am (UTC)
pravadalush 15th-Jun-2011 09:45 pm (UTC)

also, towards the end of the video all i could think was "DAT ASS"! lol
problematique 14th-Jun-2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
one of the prettiest songs ever written
tuluum 14th-Jun-2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
toto baby :)
problematique 14th-Jun-2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
john mayer's is my favorite
blue_birds 14th-Jun-2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
SWV's will always be the best.
zombieland 14th-Jun-2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
sodapopconnect 14th-Jun-2011 10:57 pm (UTC)
zombieland 14th-Jun-2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
Human Nature has always been my favorite Michael song. His voice is so perfect on it, truly beautiful.
huntertp3 15th-Jun-2011 02:41 am (UTC)
Mine too. I never get tired of listening to it.
youheadbuttyou BEST COVER EVER14th-Jun-2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
youheadbuttyou Re: BEST COVER EVER14th-Jun-2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
And is this a contest? Because if so, SWV and Elzhi win.
theconsortiumxf Re: BEST COVER EVER15th-Jun-2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Is that the dude from Shai?!
youheadbuttyou Re: BEST COVER EVER15th-Jun-2011 01:10 am (UTC)
not that i know of.
jennyfinnly 14th-Jun-2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
Nas - "It Ain't Hard to Tell
my big bro played this out in jr high my god
xstellargrl 14th-Jun-2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
Had never heard the Miles Davis version, that was awesome.

Breathless Michael sings Human Nature in Bucharest has always been on of my favorite performances of his, ever.

brucelynn 14th-Jun-2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Love watching this performance on DVD

...but he straight up slayed in during the Bad tour
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