The mind and body of Selena Quintanilla-Perez may have left us long ago, but her spirit is still alive and well in the music industry. The Mexican American songstress left behind an undeniable legacy of iconic music that has inspired Latinx and R&B singers over the years. Divas like Whitney Houston have praised her talent, and today’s prominent vocalists like Solange and Becky G have followed in her footsteps to measure up to her monumental status.
In the last two decades since her tragic death in 1995, Selena’s music and style has been the source of inspiration by not only singers, but rappers as well. Earlier this year, Drake and Big Sean rocked shirts featuring her beautiful face. Cardi B also channeled the Tejano singer’s aura when she deemed herself the “Trap Selena” in “Motorsport” with Migos and Nicki Minaj. However, there are plenty of rappers and singers who’ve spit clever bars or crafted songs dedicated to Selena.
In honor of her birthday, we revisit 10 songs that were inspired by her music and will carry on her name forever in hip-hop and playlists forever.
Last year, Texas production duo Play-N-Skillz linked up with Frankie J and Leslie Grace to remake Selena’s song “Si Una Vez,” recruiting Wisin for the remix. The instrumental is comprised of reggaeton melodies, but the chorus stays true to the original.
Roc Nation Latin singer Karen Rodriguez has called Selena one of her main inspirations. Before Romeo Santos signed her, Rodriguez performed her version of Selena’s crossover single “I Could Fall In Love” on American Idol 10 back in 2011. Her guitar-based rendition still pulls at heart strings today.
Wyclef has always had a soft spot for Latina divas. After working with the late Celia Cruz and Shakira, the Haitian artist felt compelled to channel Selena for his single baring the same name. The upbeat record samples melodies from “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” as well as her infectious hook.
Snow Tha Product is a proud Mexicana defying all odds in the music industry just like Selena. Although her claim to fame is the art of rapping, Snow still credits the “Techno Cumbia” singer as a muse. In her song “Bet That I Will” off her mixtape The Rest Comes Later, Snow references Selena’s assets and her love for pizza. “Only way that I’mma kill it, get a booty like Selena/Heard she ate pizza, now I’m calling Domino’s, Pizza Hut, my man cheesin,'” she raps.
Out of all the superstars in the music industry, Frank Ocean feels for the “Dreaming Of You” singer’s hustle, especially the tragic way it ended. On his Blonde album, Ocean claims that people want to kill him the way Selena was murdered in 1995. “I feel like Selena/They wanna murder a n***a/Murder me like Selena/You must ain’t get the memo,” he sang.
Chicago rapper King Louie’s grind is unstoppable, and he’s not stopping until he meets Selena herself at the pearly gates. Back in 2014, Louie dropped off his album Tony, which holds his song “Till I Meet Selena” produced by DJ L Beats. Although Selena’s “Dreaming Of You” isn’t sampled in the instrumental, Louie ends his song with his final request: “Man I f**ked they b***h, they be hella steaming/I’m king, I’m dreaming/Till I meet Selena/Till I meet Selena”
Selena’s “Dreaming Of You” is a staple in mainstream U.S. pop, but it’s also a hit in the underground rap scene. Back in 2008, Canadian rapper Snak The Ripper channeled the song for “Smoke,” which is featured on his album Fatt Snak. Selena starts off the song followed by Snak and Kaboom rapping off the iconic intro to “Dreaming Of You.”
Much like last year, Nicki Minaj caused mass hysteria when she dropped off “No Frauds,” “Changed It” and “Regret In Your Tears.” In the latter song produced by Frank Dukes, Boi-1da and Allen Ritter, the Young Money rapper compares her body to the bottle-like figure of the late Selena. “I count up the cash and bring you the bag/I count up the racks like Serena/Plus I got that a** like Selena,” she raps.
The Weeknd’s reference to the original Selena appears on his 2016 album Starboy. In his song “Party Monster,” Abel imagines that the girl on his mind has lips like Angelina [Jolie] and a body like Selena. Although he was spotted kissing Selena Gomez a few months later, the line was more than likely directed at his girlfriend at the time, Bella Hadid.
I’ve seen her take down that tequila
Down by the liter, I knew I had to meet her
Ooh, she mine, ooh girl, bump and grind
Ooh, she mine, ooh girl, bump a line
Angelina, lips like Angelina
Like Selena, a** shaped like Selena
Even the Based God knows when to bow down to a real god. Back in 2012, Lil B dropped an unexpected freestyle over Selena’s classic vocals from her ballad “No Me Queda Mas.” Selena’s lyric “Que nunca paso / Es el mas dulce recuerdo / De mi vida” loops throughout the instrumental, which (thankfully) overpowers his slurs and incoherent bars.