Hip-Hop’s relationship with samples is legendary. From its very conception, the genre has looked to loop sections of other tracks and transform them into some of the biggest and most famous hip-hop songs of all time. But sometimes its done so well that you don’t even realise it’s a sample, so sit back and join us as we look at some of the best Hip-Hop samples ever.
Future’s viral sensation ‘Mask Off’ became a huge hit in but some fans might not recognise the origin of the catchy flute that runs throughout Future Hendrix actually sampled a ‘s civil rights track by playwright Tommy Butler, which was originally written for ‘Selma’. Released in , the track set the standard for everything that followed from Eminem, introducing the rapper to the mainstream in an emphatic way.
But that iconic bassline is actually a sample. The Hammersmith born soft rock star’s ‘I Got The’ has been sampled by both Jay Z and Eminem, but most famously – and to best effect – by the Detroit rapper. The song is rap at its finest, but did you know that it takes the majority of its structure from a track by Michael McDonald?
If you’re not familiar with ‘I Keep Forgetting’, it was released in Yep, that rather ethereal vocal is all the doing of Ellie. The British star admits that she struggled to “play it cool” when she heard Drizzy had looped her vocals for ‘Pound Cake’. But you might not know where this comes from. While Kanye’s ‘Gold Digger’ is sped up, as you can hear from Ray Charles’ ‘I Got A Woman’, the original vocal is set much slower on the record, which was released in Originally released in , the pop rock single is very different to Kanye’s Hip Hop track, but the vocal will sound very familiar.
Originally released in , ‘Me Myself And I’, which consequently is a song title used by everyone from Beyonce to Demi Lovato, is one of the Hip-Hop collective’s seminal records. Released 10 years earlier in , Funkadelic’s track showcases all the structure of De La Soul’s version and is a brilliant listen. Everyone knows the late rapper’s West Coast anthem ‘California Love’. Released in , the track encapsulates the more mainstream side of Tupac, with its sing-along chorus that glide over the piano-driven instrumental.
But where does that beat come from? Gaming fans might also recognise this track from ‘Grand Theft Auto: The Fugees turned to the Delfonics ‘Ready Or Not Here I Come’ for the inspiration to their seminal hit – transforming the soul track, which is a classic in its own right, into something rather spectacular. The rapper showcased all of his lyrical wit on the second single from his debut album ‘Boy In Da Corner’, but what about the beat? One of the standout tracks from Kendrick’s debut album ‘good kid, m.
As you can hear, the original is pretty chilled out. One of the standout tracks from ‘Born Sinner’, J. Cole sampled the piano and vocal hook from Cults for his hit single ‘She Knows’. The American pop duo will be familiar to any Indie fans, as they were heralded as ones to watch in , following positive reviews from the likes of NME and Pitchfork. Let’s just take a second to enjoy this one.
Watch Jay Z perform live and you’ll feel the effect ’99 Problems’ has on the rapper’s audience. It’s a call of arms for any Hova fan, but quite a lot of people don’t know that Jay took the main lines from an Ice T song of the same name for the track.
Drake’s colossal single caused some controversy in the Hip Hip world for its similarity to DRAM’s ‘Cha Cha’ but few people will recognise the actual sample used throughout.
Drizzy actually sampled a 70’s soul anthem by singer Timmy Thomas. The catchy melody and bassline on ‘Hotline Bling’ is all a sample! Kanye West reignited his long-running feud with Taylor Swift in his controversial song ‘Famous’ but did you notice the Reggae sample weaved in-between the lyrics?
Rihanna and Drake’s catchy anthem is one of the biggest tracks of but the sample may be less familiar. The infectious bassline that runs throughout ‘Work’ is a sample taken from track ‘Sail Away’. But the song’s refrain: View more info Close.