5 Times Nina Simone Inspired Kanye

by TV One Staff

June 23, 2016

When it comes to muses, artists tend to look to the past.

For Kanye West, his go-to for samples and inspiration seems to be none other than Nina Simone.

As we patiently wait for the video release of his latest Nina-inspired record “Famous” featuring Rihanna on Friday and that free concert he promised us last month, we’ll be keeping The Life of Pablo on repeat. This summer favorite features a sample from Nina’s Do What You Gotta Do:

We’re not surprised by this connection as both Nina and Kanye have been very political and rebellious in their music. Here are 4 other times Kanye was inspired by the high priestess of soul:

1. “GET BY”

Inspiration: Sinnerman by Nina Simone

Talib Kweli tapped Kanye’s shoulder to produce this conscious hit about the daily African-American struggle. Kanye takes note of the piano melody in  “Sinnerman.”


Inspiration: Strange Fruit by Nina Simone

Only Kanye can take the horror of racism and lynching depicted in “Strange Fruit” and apply it to a head-bopper about molly and groupies.

3. “NEW DAY”

Inspiration: Feeling Good by Nina Simone

Jay Z and Kanye West join forces to talk about their hopes and wishes for their future children using the good-spirited vocals from “Feeling Good” as a backdrop.


Inspiration: See Line Woman by Nina Simone

On this 808’s & Heartbreak track, Kanye takes the tribal rhythm and concept of  “See Line Woman” to portray a relationship tarnished by infidelity.