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


Winter weather advisory issued as Saturday snow arrives

Not huge totals expected, but any snow will likely impact travel.


Report: Ryan Poles is Vikings' 'top choice' for general manager

Poles was one of two finalists revealed on Friday.

Payton Willis

Willis carries shorthanded Gophers to beat Rutgers

The senior scored a career-high 32 points to end a four-game losing streak.


Charges: St. Paul man had sexual contact 'multiple times' with 12-year-old girl

Marcus Steichen, 21, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Charges: Mom killed infant son just weeks after getting him back from foster care

The 10-month-old died in her care in Brooklyn Park last April.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Arrests made following fentanyl bust in St. Cloud

Authorities searched two St. Cloud apartments Friday morning.

potatoes 2

Minnesota's 'frozen potato freeway' closure attracts plenty of comment

It was, let's face it, a very Minnesotan reason for a freeway closure.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 9.07.54 AM

U of M fraternity raises money for chef's knee surgery

The GoFundMe has raised around $1,700 of its $5,000 goal.

unsplash restaurant cashier register COVID face mask - crop

7 restaurant, bar groups sue Minneapolis over dining vaccine mandate

"Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns..." the lawsuit said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 7.47.53 AM

Woman fatally shot in St. Paul's North End neighborhood

It's the fourth homicide so far this year in St. Paul.


Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.


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.