Over the years, the single has attracted critical acclaim as an essential track in the history of early hip-hop music. Critic John Bush of Allmusic has remarked that the group had a "near-perfect homage to digital-era technology", with its performers "freestyling over quintessentially electro ingredients like pin-point machine beats, electric drumpads, and arpeggiated sequencers." It has also been revamped and sampled numerous times. "Looking for the Perfect Beat" was the basis for the British Hip hop and House crossover performer Bomb the Bass' "Beat Dis" as well as Simon Harris' similar hit, "Here Comes That Sound", which came out in 1988. U96's single "Energie" (1998) also took inspiration. Samples of the track helped create LL Cool J's song "Control Myself" and DJ Khaled's song "Holla at Me". The song was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the fictional radio station, Wildstyle.
The music video for "Looking for the Perfect Beat" was created by the same team that made "Planet Rock," Video Mix Productions. At the request of label president Tom Silverman, Danny Cornyetz, and Jessica Jason shot Bambaataa and the entire Soulsonic Force in a 22nd Street studio miming the track. Editing was done at VCA Teletronics New York and included Quantel video effects and footage of famous hip-hop dancer Mr Freeze.