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
SWV, Miles Davis and Nas did it best tbqh