The Five Best Times Someone Other Than Kendrick Lamar Used ‘That Lady’
The Isley Brothers hit made the rounds before "i" dropped today
Kendrick Lamar’s comeback single, “i,” was released today, contained a very familiar (if rather unexpected) choice of sample: the Isley Brothers’ “That Lady,” a top-ten hit and funk staple of the ’70s. Though Kendrick’s new song is sure to become the track most closely associated with “Lady” for a large section of rap fans, the Isleys song has actually wound a pretty impressive path through pop culture already, serving as a frequent sample source and a go-to soundtrack choice for a certain kind of scene in movie or TV.
Here are our five favorite uses of “That Lady,” pre-Kendrick, listed chronologically from the late ’80s:
Beastie Boys, “A Year and a Day” (1989)
Here’s one of the most inspired uses of “That Lady,” slotted in one of the middle sections of the Beasties’ Paul’s Boutique-closing deluxe medley “B-Boy Bouillabaisse.” The sample propels Adam Yauch’s psychedelic raving to the fifth dimension, touching on the same kind of self-affirmation (“I see myself as clear as day / And I am going to the limits of my ultimate destiny”) as Kendrick would with “i,” 25 years later.
380 Dat Lady, “Who’s That Lady” (1996)
One of the few female-perspective appropriations of “That Lady” came courtesy of mid-’90s Texas rapper 380 Dat Lady, supported by male backup singers intoning, “Who’s that lady / Sure ’nuff 380!” It’s not a classic, and the then-teenage 380 was little heard from again, but it’s a fun spin on the song and proves that the Isleys’ hook translates unsurprisingly well to the G-Funk era.
Salon Commercial (1998)
This series of commercials put the question posed by the song’s chorus into the mouths of anyone fortunate enough to pass through the vicinity of a woman sporting Salon haircare. If you can listen to the Isleys’ chorus without picturing the poodle at the end of this clip, consider yourself lucky for not having watched far too much TV in the late ’90s.
Basement Jaxx, “Jus 1 Kiss (Isley Brothers Edit)” (2001)
This Soulwax edit of one of the Jaxx’s most ecstatic bangers lays the song’s original vocal over a couple licks of the “Lady” riff, catapulting an already perfect dance song through the stratosphere. All mashups should be this simple and effective.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
The now-classic Frat Pack comedy gives female star Christina Applegate “That Lady” as the intro music for her arrival at Channel 4 News. If the music supervisors were trying to announce Applegate’s Veronica Corningstone character as the movie’s leading lady — for anyone who was previously unclear on this matter — they couldn’t have done much more to get the point across.