Samples makes the record go ’round
Today’s hip-hop scene has seen a boost in artists sampling the work of other musicians and repurposing it to further the piece, turning memorable classics into club bangers.
In the early 1980s artists like Afrika Bambaata were not only responsible for starting the hip-hop movement, but they were also pioneers in producing sampled instrumentals for their songs.
Bambaata’s “Planet Rock” utilized Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express” and brought about a tune that shook the foundation of pop culture.
Sampling has been heavily utilized in today’s pop and rock songs, but the method is more evident in hip-hop. Several artists and producers like Kanye West and Little Brother member 9th Wonder implement R&B soul music in their beats while others like the late J Dilla and Kendrick Lamar are more experimental, sampling other genres of music.
The southern rap scene in Houston is no different. Fat Tony, Mike Jones, Paul Wall and Scarface have been able to grace some of their heavily sampled beats with gritty southside flows. However, they’ve also sampled the vocals of other artists in the hooks of their songs — a notable technique in songwriting and production.
Underground Kingz, a southern favorite composed of Bun B and the late Pimp C, sampled almost 150 tracks for their albums according to whosampled.com.
Their most notable hit “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” produced by Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul and Juicy J takes sounds from Willie Hutch’s soulful ballad “I Choose You.”
Trae the Truth, another popular Houston rapper, sampled from Michael Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life” and had his song “Swang” produced by Mr. Rogers.
Like the late Etta James, who was furious about Beyonce’s rendition of “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “At Last” in the movie “Cadillac Records,” many could argue that sampling is a sly form of pirating.
However, coupled with royalty contracts the artists have to adhere to use the classic jams, sampling is a form of flattery. In essence, it’s like having two different musicians spiritually collaborating.
Sampling also broadens the listeners’ musical tastes. They’ll notice an interesting sample being used in a beat and try to dig around the libraries of a nearby vinyl collection.
Whosampled.com also offers a great way for hip-hop heads to seek out the samples of their favorite songs to find the sources.
Sampling is now the standard of music today. Rock bands and bubblegum pop artists have taken note from hip-hop and are using the technique to garner new fans.
Without producers going out of their way to find nod-worthy classics to sample, hip-hop wouldn’t have helped music advance in the way that it has.