Moment 1: Coolio's hit 1995 single, "Gangsta's Paradise," is built around a sample from Stevie Wonder's song, "Pastime Paradise," that appeared on his classic 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life. The track was the lead single from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack and made it to the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100—solidifying itself and one of the most successful rap songs of the 1990s.
Moment 2: Back in 2001 when Eminem was facing criticism from a variety of different groups, Stevie Wonder spoke up for him—and hip-hop in general—by comparing it to another very important form of music. "Rap to me is a modern blues—a statement of how and where people are at," Stevie wrote at the time. "I think art is a reflection of our society, and people don't like to confront the realities in society. We dance forever around the issues, and [embrace] songs about unity and love. But until we really confront the truth, we are going to have a Tupac or Eminem or Biggie Smalls to remind us about it—and thank God. They force people to look at realities in society. That doesn't mean their reflection is my reflection."
Stevie later blasted Eminem in 2004 for his portrayal of Michael Jackson in his video for "Just Lose It." But his '01 statement still speaks to his belief in the fact that hip-hop is even bigger and more important than what people think.
Moment 3: In 2006, Stevie Wonder cleared a sample of his song "Have A Talk With God" for Snoop Dogg's Blue Carpet Treatment. The song was the final track on Snoop's eighth solo album and one of the most heartfelt and thoughtful tracks on the project.
Moment 4: In June 2010, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z performed back-to-back at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. And while they didn't actually take the stage together, they kept a crowd of 75,000 people on the edge of their seats. Stevie also reportedly hung around well after his set was finished to hear Hova's performance and lend his support to Jay at a venue that doesn't traditionally offer headlining slots to rappers.
Moment 5: During a benefit concert at New York City's Museum of Modern Art in May 2011, Kanye West kicked off his set by covering Stevie Wonder's 1974 hit, "They Won't Go When I Go," before breaking into "Hell Of A Life" from his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. It's the same song Stevie performed at Michael Jackson's memorial song back in July 2009.
Bonus Moment: Earlier this year, Gucci Mane teamed up with up-and-coming rapper Future to release a song called "Stevie Wonder." Technically, Stevie Wonder had nothing to do with this track—and we're pretty sure he wouldn't have cosigned the "I can't see ya, Stevie Wonder" hook that Gooch came up with for it—but it's a hip-hop moment that includes Stevie Wonder nonetheless. It further proves that Stevie Wonder is hip-hop, people. And don't you ever forget it.