Samples are one of the backbones of hip hop. These are some of the best in recent memory.
Hip hop has always used samples in an important way, but recently we’ve seen some samples from totally unexpected places such as indie pop and electro. In the best examples of sampling, the original song is obscured as it becomes something totally different for the sake of the rapper.
Game – Astronaut Pussy/Welcome to California // Britney Spears – Toxic
Astronaut Pussy/Welcome to California is off Game’s mixtape O.K.E. (Operation Kill Everything), and starts with a sample of Britney Spears in Toxic before getting chopped and dropping into the beat. From the first time I heard it, I loved the song and the vocal sample in particular, but didn’t realize it was Britney Spears until much later. This is the best type of sample, one that makes a totally different sound and effect than what was started with. This is also an example of why sampling is not necessarily lazy and in some cases is wildly creative.
Kanye West – Stronger // Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger
This isn’t exactly just a sample, because Daft Punk worked with Kanye to adapt the track, but the original song is heavily sampled (in that Stronger’s beat is pretty much just Harder Better Faster Stronger slowed down.) This is an excellent example of how sampling can actually help out the original artist too. I mean, obviously Daft Punk was a phenomenon of its own long before this track, but it would be foolish to think Kanye didn’t introduce them to a larger, younger audience.
Kendrick Lamar – Money Trees // Beach House – Silver Soul
Like the other songs on this list, Money Trees samples from a song that is most definitely not hip hop. The whole beat is built around the sample of Silver Soul, but like great samples, it sounds like a totally different track. In fact, I had no idea it was even a sample until a friend of mine pointed it out to me. Then when I listened to the original song, it totally made sense. This is a great example of hip hop moving away from boom bap, and transitioning into all kinds of music layered under a rapper. I want the classic stuff to stick around too, but I’m down.
Did I miss any recent dope hip hop samples?
Let me know, because I will be doing this again.