On this day (Apr. 19) in 1951 the legendary Luther Vandross was born. With a voice that has been called everything from “flawless” to “velvet” to “as smooth as silk” the singer emerged from singing jingles for companies like Mountain Dew and Juicy Fruit to become one of the greatest black male vocalists of all time. Before passing away in 2005, Vandross sold more than 25 million records worldwide, released 13 studio albums, and received eight Grammy Awards, including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four different times. And without him, some of your favorite cuts would not even exist.
In honor of his birthday, here are our five favorite rap songs that sample the “Velvet Voice” himself.