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Kooky hip-hop samples: Who does it best?

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I’ll admit, I have a thing for wonky samples in hip-hop and R&B — I’d rather hear freakin’ John Denver (he’ll fill up your senses!) over one more tired P-funk/James Brown/Kool & the Gang retread.

After all, what would Eminem’s “Stan” have been without its hook from British songbird Dido’s bath-time ballad “Thank You”? Or Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” without its genius appropriation of a song from the Broadway musical Annie?  Oh, that saucy little orphaned urchin! So street.

Now, look at Jason Derulo — man enough, apparently, to take singer-songwriter Imogen Heap’s a capella hymn “Hide and Seek” (best known for its pivotal Marisa’s-got-a-gun cameo on The O.C., and in a subsequent, mocking SNL skit) and turn it into a radio hit with “Watcha Say”:

He’s not exactly blowing my mind with the lyrical science here, but it’s got its charms. And clearly, the song’s already got plenty of fans; Derulo’s MySpace plays for the track are up to nearly 7 million.

You tell me, Music Mixers — are you a fan of these kinds of inter-music-species pollinations? What are your favorite unexpected-slash-bizarro samples?

More from EW’s Music Mix:

Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye, ‘Run This Town’: Watch it here!

R. Kelly: Yet another crazy sex metaphor

Guilty pleasures bracket revealed!

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