Five Examples of Music Sampling Done Right
Music sampling is an artform – going far beyond the paint-by-numbers cover version, the use of other music in new material is an insight into a producer’s impressive talent and creativity.
Sampling isn’t by any means new. Born out the 1970s when DJs would play around with mixing vinyl on turntables, music sampling has continued to evolve as a creative process of blending modern day sounds with the reminiscent past. The most recent and notable example being the use of Pete Rodriguez’s ‘I Like It like That’ in Cardi B’s U.S. number one hit ‘I Like It’.
For your pleasure, we’ve rounded up just a small handful of the great uses of sampling in music and looked into just how the original loop, layer, or recordings were altered to create a new anthem.
Daft Punk – One More Time (Sampling Eddy Johns’ ‘More Spell on You’)
Controversially, Daft Punk have never admitted to their use of ‘More Spell On You’ – in fact, they’ve flatly denied it altogether. Whilst eagle-eared listeners may not notice the immediate similarities in the two tracks, a little detective work makes a very reassuring case for the use of the 1978 soul track.
A popular video sees a producer try to recreate the way that a very short sample of Johns’ track was looped and used as the background beat for ‘One More Time’. See for yourself below.
Eminem – My Name Is (Sampling Labi Siffre’s ‘I Got The…’)
Eminem’s use of ‘I Got The…’ isn’t instantly obvious, and the rapper had to make a bit of a compromise in order to include the track in ‘My Name Is’ but it was definitely worth it.
Openly gay, Labi Siffre objected to how the original lyrics attacked women and the gay community and insisted the lyrics were changed before he’d clear the sample. Surprisingly, Eminem and producer Dr. Dre sided with Siffre and the groovy funk guitar sample was then okayed for use. ‘My Name Is’ became Eminem’s breakout hit whilst Labi Siffre reportedly owns all the publishing rights to the song, so everybody benefited in the end.
Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) (Sampling Carol Williams’ ‘Love is You’)
This 2002 beach house track helped launch the career of British songstress Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and 16 years on remains a dance classic.
‘Groovejet’ is mainly built around a few different samples of Carol Williams’ disco hit ‘Love Is You’. The distinctive congo drums in the original intro make a looped reappearance in Spiller’s anthem, whilst a further drum sample helps to make the main instrumental of ‘Groovejet’. Basically, the song owes a lot to ‘Love Is You’ as it just wouldn’t be the same without it.
M.I.A – Paper Planes (Sampling The Clash’s ‘Straight to Hell’)
The use of ‘Straight to Hell’ in ‘Paper Planes’ makes total sense as both tracks deal with similar topics of immigration.
The post-punk track is ingeniously used in the Diplo-produced ‘Paper Planes’ as its transformed into a whole new sound. Using only a few seconds of the intro’s guitar riffs, M.I.A.’s track is a great example of sampling done right and shows how using elements productively can make something that isn’t just a rehash of a well-known song.
Alt-J – Hunger of the Pine (Sampling Miley Cyrus’ ‘4X4’)
In an unlikely move for a well-respected indie rock band, the English group Alt-J decided to sample a Miley Cyrus album track in ‘Hunger of the Pine’.
Incorporating and repeating the "I’m a female rebel” line from Cyrus’ ‘4X4’, the use is baffling yet somehow manages to work. The suave track blends the sample in so casually that many listeners probably won’t even realise the connection to Miley Cyrus.
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