10 Songs & Projects Inspired By Sun Ra

6. Madvillain – The Illest Villains

MADVILLAIN! By now, you should know of Madlib’s love for Sun Ra. His imagery and way of life has featured in some form or another in Madlib’s life and work starting prominently on Quasimoto’s debut (which will be discussed later). For the opening few seconds of Madvillainy, the Beat Konducta took some dissonant chords from Ra’s Contrast and blended them into some weird surf rock percussion and old movie clips. It was the perfect sample tapestry for the perfect sample tailor.

7. Quasimoto – Astro Black

As mentioned above, Quasimoto started the Ra experience in Madlib’s discography. Sampling the song of the same name, Lord Quas flipped up a hazed out jam and one of the many standout tracks on The Unseen.

8. Unkle – Intro (Optional)

The influence on Unkle’s Intro (Optional) wasn’t as heavy as the preceding seven tracks but it proved that he knew who Sun Ra was. On the track, Unkle pieced together a lot of famous samples from the 60s to the late 90s and Sun Ra’s Space Is The Place creeped in amongst Herbie Hancock, James Brown and The Incredible Bongo Band. Now, if that isn’t the best company, I don’t know what is.

9. The Avalanches – Electricity

After the copyright police started clamping down on unlawful sampling, particularly within hip hop, this forced some producers to change tactics (or pay for their samples). Two notable albums made completely from samples were DJ Shadow’s Entroducing….. (almost entirely from samples) and The Avalanches’ Since I Left You. Electricity used Sun Ra’s Say, taking a strange whirring sound, much like the type of sounds you might hear on The Clangers. With all the other samples overlapping, it worked rather well.

10. Suff Daddy – Konnopke

Something I didn’t know was that Sun Ra did a cover of Charlie Chaplin’s Smile. I also didn’t know that Germany’s Suff Daddy gave it the sample treatment with some banging drums and a great Brazilian guitar sample. Not as wacky as the others but nevertheless a dope record.

About Luke Alex Davis

Luke Davis is a music producer and editor of music blog Sampleface. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tennis and football and reading.


  1. Great selection of tunes. If any of you all haven’t checked out the Hi-Hat Club series, the likes of Suff Daddy, Dexter and Fid Mella, which are featured on this list, make sure you do, European sample wrangling and beat slicing at its finest! Keep up the great work!

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