“Four Women,” (Three Songs): Nina Simone’s Voice (as Sound Object) in Global Hip-Hop Sampling


  • Abigail Lindo University of Florida


This article explores the transformative power of hip-hop sampling in reshaping the legacy and cultural resonance of American vocalist, pianist, and composer Nina Simone. Simone's voice, known for its potency in protest songs, continues to find new life in contemporary hip-hop and popular music. Through an examination of two hip-hop songs, Jay-Z's "The Story of O.J." and Polish rapper/DJ duo Fisz and Emade's "Heavi Metal," this article delves into the complex process of cultural reterritorialization, wherein Simone's voice is repurposed to convey new meanings and contexts within and beyond her original cultural identity. These case studies, set against the backdrop of American and European hip-hop, shed light on the global reach of Simone's voice as it functions as a cultural authenticator for Jay-Z and a nostalgic element for Fisz, often diverging from the original Black feminist message. The examination also extends to the visual realm by exploring how the music videos accompanying Jay-Z and Fisz's works contribute to the reception and interpretation of the sampled materials. Ultimately, this essay underscores the dynamic nature of cultural phenomena, highlighting how Simone's voice continues to evolve, resonate, and inspire across generations and geographies, transcending its original context to tell new stories.