Skip to main content

Leonard Cohen's greatness found its way into hip-hop too

Leonard Cohen's legacy stretched to all corners of the music world, including hip-hop. Here's our five favorite Leonard Cohen samples.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Yesterday, Leonard Cohen died at the age of 82.

The veteran songwriter was one of music's most influential figures for his dedication to the craft, his beautiful presentation of life's darker elements, and his thoroughly unapologetic approach.

While Leonard Cohen wasn't in every music fan's list of favorite artists, everyone has a favorite Leonard Cohen song.

His own body of work has bled into the hip-hop realm, both in style and in the artistry itself. Numerous MCs and producers have sampled his music to create their own tracks. Here are five of our favorites:

T.I. - "Hallelujah"(2012)
Let's start with perhaps Cohen's most famous and utilized work, "Hallelujah." For T.I.'s big comeback album, he channeled the hope and introspection of Cohen's original for his own "Hallelujah."

Wu-Tang Clan featuring Street Life - "Execute Them" 1998
The emotive strings of Cohen's "Who By Fire" made the perfect minimalist loop for the Wu-Tang Killa Bee compilation release The Swarm's "Execute Them."

A$AP Rocky featuring Joe Fox - "Max B" 2015
Also sampling "Who By Fire" was A$AP Rocky in his tribute to fellow Harlem great Max B featured a distorted echo of Cohen's original adding some visceral ambiance to the record.

Plan B - "Suzanne" 2007
U.K. rapper Plan B showed the influence of the Canadian Cohen on even rappers across the pond. He remade Cohen's "Suzanne" for a 2007 mixtape, which summons the potent power of the original.

Eligh - "Traveling Man" 2005
West Coast great Eligh of Living Legends flipped Cohen's "I'm Your Man" for his mid-aughts jam "Traveling Man." It's a smooth jam for traveling or just being someone's man while staying put.

Next Up


Man killed by St. Paul police ID'd by family, community demands answers

The man was identified as 24-year-old Howard Johnson.

Screen Shot 2022-12-07 at 7.38.02 AM

Quick shot of snow to impact morning commute in Twin Cities

Snow is moving into the metro Wednesday morning.


Body found in burned out car near Bird Island identified as local farmer

The deceased is a 59-year-old man from rural Bird Island.

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 2.47.44 PM

Minneapolis' Khâluna named in Eater's 2022 'Best New Restaurants'

The restaurant, opened in 2021, is known for its Laotian cuisine.

ambulance, crash

3 pedestrians struck by drivers Monday in Minnesota; 2 dead

The victims involved a 39-year-old man and two 74-year-old men.

snow, plow

Shifting storm tracks: Significant storms Friday, next week?

Sven Sundgaard has the details on an interesting forecast.

Life Link

Worker suffers serious injury in rooftop fall in rural Minnesota

The man only fell a few feet, but suffered a serious leg injury.

Walz, Flanagan

Minnesota reports massive projected budget surplus of $17.6 billion

The huge surplus comes as the DFL prepares to assume a trifecta of the Legislature and the Governor's House.


Boil water advisory issued for part of Minneapolis after water main break

The main break caused significant flooding in an area of North Minneapolis Monday evening.


Hip-Hop reacts to Donald Trump winning the presidency

Donald Trump shocked the world with his Presidential victory last night. But how did the hip-hop nation react?

Chicago was the top hip-hop city of 2016, and here's the proof

As great of a year as 2016 was for hip-hop, Chicago had a particularly stellar year!

Grammys 2017: Hip-hop performers and nominees

Some surprising news coming from the hip-hop happenings at the 2017 Grammys

Bill O’Reilly's most hip-hop moments revisited

A frequent antagonist of rappers, Bill's exit is bittersweet in terms of the memes he inspired.

Soundset 2017 was a wild hip-hop ride: 5 takeaways

There were some incredible moments despite some issues with the 10th annual Soundset

The Simpsons go hip-hop in hour-long special

After many months of hype, the special featuring Snoop Dogg, RZA and Common lit up Fox's Sunday night.