Hip-Hop gets a bad rep of being the music that rips off other people’s songs. This comes from people who believe that sampling is stealing!
You could look at it that way, or you could say that appropriation has fuelled the evolution of music ever since Day One. It’s all part of a wider patchwork, in which something old becomes something new in the hands of a younger generation. And respects are being paid in the process: hip-hop producers wouldn’t build their work on something they thought was terrible. Something old, something new, something borrowed: that’s how we get from here to there.
Although some 1970s hip-hop productions included backing musicians, the turntable was the main instrument. The creativity of hip-hop was in the process of recording and stitching together bits of existing sounds, just as much as any of the musical elements themselves.
The block parties organized by DJ Kool Herc in The Bronx, New York City during the early 1970s were pivotal in hip-hop’s development as both a genre and culture. Kool Herc would extend the break section of a funk or soul song by switching back and forth between two copies of the same record, while engaging with dancers using the mic in a call and response routine.
5. THE HONEY DRIPPERS
“IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT"
Sampled 796 times
The opening drum break from the politically charged ‘Impeach’ by The Honey Drippers is known as one of Hip Hop’s most distinguished drum break samples. A chunky mid tempo funk cut with a crisp kick and snare and an easily recognizable open high hat has formed the rhythmic backing to countless Hip Hop classics. Some of the most popular songs this sample has been used in are “Unbelievable” by Biggie Smalls, “The Message” by Nas, “I Get Around” by 2Pac, “The Chronic (Intro)” by Dr. Dre, and “Jump” by Kris Kross.
4. DOUG E. FRESH & SLICK RICK
“LA DI DA DI"
Sampled 998 times
Not quite an acapella, this b-side to Doug E. Fresh’s 1985 hit ‘The Show’ features a young Slick Rick delivering trademark story raps over Doug’s beatbox. Of the many iconic phrases appearing in the track it’s “and it goes a little something like this, hit it!” that has become by far the most sampled. Some of the most popular uses of this sample include but are not included to “Hypnotize” by Biggie Smalls, “Auditorium” by Mos Def, “Party” by Beyonce and “Good Friday” by Kanye West. This sample is a staple sound in hip-hop and many more genres. The song still stands on its own as a classic and has been revitalized through recent samples.
3. JAMES BROWN
Sampled 1585 times
James Brown’s discography is heavily sampled throughout Hip Hop. The sample from “Funky Drummer” is the drum break that more or less defined the sound of late 80s Hip Hop. A rolling and unmistakably funky drum loop with neck snapping snare hits that typifies the James Brown sound. Whilst the main drum break is by far the shining jewel of this track, the countdown of ‘1,2,3,4 hit it!’ and the vocal ad libs that appear over the breakbeat are also popular and timeless scratch samples. Some of the classics that this sample has been use are, “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre, “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy, “Mathematics” by Mos Def, “Fuck Tha Police” by NWA, and “The Morning” by Good Music.
“CHANGE THE BEAT
Sampled 2409 times
It’s rarely the musical content that’s sampled from this early 80s Fab 5 Freddy B-side, but the closing sound bite “Aah, that stuff is really fresh”. The “Aah” and “Fresh” with their clean, sharp sound have become the industry standard in scratch samples for the world’s turntablist community the standard sound with which novices learn and the advanced create new techniques. Being the industry standard scratch sample, this record has been included in many classic songs. Some of these songs include, “Paid In Full” by Eric B & Rakim, “Catchin’ the Vibe” by Quasimoto, “Code of the Streets” by Gang Starr, “U Cant Touch This” MC Hammer, and “Childrens Story” by Slick Rick.
1. THE WINSTON
Sampled 4328 times
“Amen, Brother” is one of the most important sample in the history of hip hop music. Gregory C. Coleman of Washington funk and soul band The Winstons was the man responsible for the drumbeat on their track ‘Amen, Brother’. Little known to the band, it’d become the most sampled drumbeat ever, appearing in over 4000 tracks. From hip hop in the ‘80s, jungle, drum ‘n’ bass through rave’s early days up until the present day. Some of the most iconic uses of this sample are, “Straight Outta Compton” by NWA, “Little Wonder” by David Bowie, “I Desire” by Eric B. & Rakim, and “I Desire” by Salt-N-Pepa.