I have had the sample me concept in my head for a long time but every time I thought about writing it, it always seemed daunting so I put it off. Being that it was a slow series week and the Warriors are almost making me not want to write about basketball, I thought I’d write about something I actually want to write about – Hip Hop samples. (well some R&B ones too). I have little anecdotes for almost all the sampled songs on this list and whittling it down was difficult. Some songs which don’t get a featured will have an honourable mention at the bottom of the list. Shout out to Lailah and Solagbade for helping out on this by the way. I tried not to go into any deep research about obscure songs from the 90’s which sampled even more obscure songs from the 70’s. I’m familiar with more or less all these songs and the songs they sampled.
Just a note before it gets started. I’m trying to come up with what I guess I’d call popular songs with interesting samples. So Destiny’s Child copying (they’d say covering) Emotions by the Bee Gees doesn’t even get any consideration. Neither did any other covers by the way. So even if I like Tamia’s version of Careless Whisper and Mary J. Blige’s version of I’m going down better than the originals, they don’t count. Maybe I’ll make a cover me list if I can find enough songs for that post.
On to the real business now:
International Players Anthem – UGK featuring OutKast: Samples I choose you by William Hutch. Jahiem has a song called Chosen one from his Ghetto Classics album and I initially thought this song sampled the Jaheim one and I wondered why UGK would sample Jahiem. I was wrong of course. There was a post in the undefeated recently about who had the best verse on the UGK version. I wasn’t the biggest Pimp C fan but I think he gets my vote. The way the beat kicks in when his verse starts is sick and his energy doesn’t let up for the rest of the verse.
Regulate – Warren G: Samples I keep forgetting by Michael Mcdonald. Interesting fact about how I found this out. Remember Asher Roth? (the guy that made that I love college song). He was doing a top 5 sample countdown on MTV base ages ago and I remember him bringing this up. Being a student of the game, I download it right after. Its actually a pretty good song.
Juicy – Notorious B.I.G: Samples Juicy Fruit by Mtume. I heard the Mtume version and I shazamed it. When the song came up I thought what the hell is Mtume? (it sounds like a Ugandan tribute band) and I was sure I had the wrong song but there was actually a group called Mtume. Kanye is rightly known as the sample king but as you’d see on this list, puffy held his own too.
Through the Wire – Kanye West: Samples Through the Fire by Chaka Khan. Speaking of being the Sample King. Mr. West makes his first appearance on this list. It is impressive the way he plays on the title. He recorded the song whilst his jaws were wired shut after a car accident (spitting through the wire, get it) but technically he’s also spitting through the fire because he must have been going through hell at the time (fire, hell get it?)
Doin’ it – LL Cool J: The song says LL Cool J but there is also a version of the song I like with Fabolous, Nicki Minaj and Trey Songz. Both songs sample My Jamaican Man by Grace Jones. When I heard the Fabolous version, I was sure it was going to be a hit I wondered what happened. When Fabolous was on the breakfast club, he said they couldn’t clear the Grace Jones sample. Apparently Grace Jones cleared the sample for LL on the condition that she’s featured in the video. LL never called Miss Jones so when Fabolous called her, she didn’t answer the phone.
Killin Me Softly – The Fugees: Samples Killing me softly by Roberta Flack. The score was one of the few albums that I knew from top to bottom when I was in primary school so I had to include a song from the album. I’m sure 70% of the songs on the album sampled one song or the other but I’ll just stick to the one I know.
Otis – Kanye West & Jay – Z: Samples try a little tenderness by Otis Redding Watch the throne was actually a really good album. I knew this song sampled an Otis Redding song but I didn’t know which one. The first time I heard try a little tenderness was when they played it at the end of a random Scandal episode. I was watching it with my friend who knew all the words and was singing along and I got jealous because I’m usually the one that knows those type of songs. I downloaded the song right after and now the song is on my list J!
Poetic Justice – Kendrick Lamar featuring Drake: Samples Anytime, Any place by Janet Jackson. I’m not the biggest Kendrick fan but I like the way he sampled the Janet Jackson song. Anytime, Any place is one of the first songs I remember seeing on Channel O in the 90’s.’I think there was a show called Diva’s which came on every Sunday where they played only songs by females. I actually didn’t make the connection with that song and Kendrick until I saw the video again after the Kendrick version came out.
Can’t Nobody Hold me Down – Mase and Puff Daddy: Samples The Message by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. Remember what I said about Puffy and sampling? This is a good one. The message is also sampled by Ice Cube on Check yo Self.
Rule – Nas: Samples Everybody wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears. What kind of name is Tears for Fears please? One thing I think is really cool about rap is how they can hear that song by tears for fears and think about flipping it into a hip hop song. Amerie kills the chorus on this song by the way. Did you know this was actually the first single off the Stillmatic album? (I didn’t) Apparently, it came out before Ether but it didn’t chart well.
The Jump Off – Lil Kim: Samples Jeeps, Lex Coupes, Bimaz & Benz by the Lost Boyz – Timbaland makes his first appearance on the list. Who knew Timbaland liked to get his sample game on? Side Note – La Bella Mafia was a really good album.
Patience – Nas & Damian Marley: Samples Sabali by Amadou et Mariam. I love it when I hear a new song and can tell exactly what song it samples? Sabali is taken of Amadou et Mariam’s Welcome to Mali album which I got introduced to when I was studying for my law school exam. That album has some other gems if you’re interested. Amadou et Mariam are a blind Malian couple who play most of their instruments on their songs. Pretty cool eh?
Heart of the City – Jay – Z: Samples Ain’t no Love in the Heart of the City by Curtis Mayfield. Don’t you just love pre Kardashain Kanye? If you’re a big Kanye and have listened to last call off the College Dropout album then you’d know this was the first beat he made after he moved out of his Chicago apartment and drove to Newark, New Jersey.
Get Down – Nas: Samples Paid the cost to be the Boss by James Brown. Get Down is my best song off the God’s Son album. Salaam Remi is a fool for the way he used this sample. Come to think of it, there should be more Salaam Remi songs on this list because he’s a master with remixing those soulful sounds.
Do for Love – TuPac: Samples What you won’t do for Love by Bobby Caldwell. I don’t remember exactly when or how I found out this was the song sampled in do for love but I do know that Do for Love reminds me of parties in the 90’s where I wore oversized Nautica Hilfiger hand me downs from my older cousin.
The Light – Common: Samples Open your Eyes by Bobby Caldwell. John Legend samples the same song on Open your Eyes in his song of the same name. I actually thought John Legend sampled the Common version. (thanks Solagbade) The light is also one of those songs I found out about through Channel O. The John legend version always played in this cheap and cheerful place called Coral Blue that had mad bread rolls it’s closed now though L
Tiny Dancer – Ironik (Elton John Tiny Dancer)
Music – Eric Sermon (I’ve got my music – Marvin Gaye)
I shot the Sheriff – Warren G (I shot the Sheriff – Bob Marley)
What a ride that was! I love these AUX Chronicles.