Ever felt like a new song you were listening to sounded all too familiar? I definitely knew this was the case whenever I put on some tunes by Will Smith… not that I do too often, perhaps when I’m in that stupid crappy 90’s appreciation state. I always knew that a lot of his hits were sampled from such greats as The Whispers, Patrice Rushen and Stevie Wonder. But I’m sure there are tons of other samples out there waiting to be known.

The sampling of pieces from derivative work has never been a foreign act in the entertainment industry. It is ever-present in the movies, music, art and literature. In music the notion of sampling includes reusing part of a recording from a song, be it an individual instrumental or a vocal component, and include it into another arrangement forming a whole new song.


Starting out with the manipulation of tape loops and vinyl records from those working in the Musique concrète movement, then in the late 1960’s psychedelic movements with the use of tape loop sampling. DJ’s in the 70’s would manipulate vinyl records on two turntables, which lead to the development of the sounds of Chicago house music.


Sampling became more widespread amongst the disco and budding electronic music scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Hip-Hop was the first popular music form to incorporate sampling from existing recordings; and the influence that this form of music has provided can still be seen to this day. Beginning with such examples as Sugar Hill Gang sampling Chic all the way to Kanye West sampling Curtis Mayfield. In many ways it is quite the norm to sample and rehash the rhythms and melodies of earlier recordings.

So I decided to compile of list of some pretty cool songs and who they sampled from, I formatted it that you can listen to the ‘Sampler’ song via Soundcloud, if you want to check out the ‘sampled’ song click on it’s song title.

J Dilla – Time (The Donut of The Heart) samples : Jackson 5All I Do Is Think of You

Freaking great producer, Freaking great album. This track was released on his legendary Donuts album, which was released only 3 days before J Dilla passed away. Sampling the guitar riff from The Jackson 5’s All I Do Is Think of You as a continuous loop. An instrumental Hip-Hop producer with an amazing level of creativity and unparalleled ear for sampling. Donuts was famously known to of been made whilst J Dilla was undergoing treatment in the hospital for Lupus, one cannot help but wonder how amazing Donuts would’ve been had he made it when he was healthy. A must for any hip-hop fan, MUST MUST listen to.

J Dilla – Time The Donut of the Heart

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It? samples Lou ReedTalk a Walk on the Wild Side

Featured on the debut album of Hip-Hop trio A Tribe Called Quest, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Path of Rhythm in 1990. I love the way the flow of their rhymes is never raised in volume nor changing in pitch, it always follows suit. Sampling the bassline in Lou Reed’s Take A Walk On The Wild Side as a means  to break up the rap verses. A slightly under appreciated album, comparatively, when taking into account the amount of publicity and ratings the succeeding albums received. This album has stood the test of time. Can’t go wrong with the upbeat mellowness that A Tribe Called Quest seem to convey, a good change of positive hip-hop that makes you take pride in what you listen to, a great contrast to some of the really annoyingly negative vibes from some rap.

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It

Daft Punk – Da Funk samples Barry WhiteI’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More

Great house track from Daft Punk’s debut album Homework. I always laugh when I hear that Da Funk was inspired by Daft Punk’s listening to West Coast G-Funk. In particular listening to Warren G’s Regulate, which hilariously enough I’m gonna mention later. Sampling the drum beat from Barry White’s song I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More as a rhythm break. Daft Punk do a good job of incorporating infectious beats and synthesized grooves. I’m no real connoisseur of Dance and House music, but I get the feeling that there are tons of trends within those genres that go in and out of popularity, something that Daft Punk is immune to.

Daft Punk – Da Funk

David Bowie – Young Americans samples The BeatlesA Day in the Life

Who would’ve thought that Bowie the musical Chameleon would sample anyone? Oh what am I saying everyone does it, and I mean he sampled The Beatles so it ain’t really that bad. Not that I’m saying sampling is a bad thing, it’s just always surprising which songs have samplings and who the artist is. Bowie’s sample isn’t continuos either, he uses the opening phrase sung by Lennon on the song A Day in the Life “I heard the news today oh boy” in many parts in the track. Released during Bowie’s ‘Plastic Soul’ period during the mid-70’s, casting aside his Glam Rock persona for Fedoras and a slicked funk soul look. Bowie used local soul and funk artists in the production of the album, including Luther Vandross, to bring in an authentic feel and as a result of the release of Young Americans Bowie was featured on the hit show Soul Train as one of the first white performers.

Animal Collective – My Girls samples Frankie KnucklesYour Love

The wacky experimental band from Baltimore released this track on their 8th studio album Merriweather Post Pavilion. This album has more of an electronic sound to it in comparison with the previous collections. This was in part due to the absence of guitarist Deakin, resulting in an album focusing on samples, drum loops and electronics. Animal Collective sample Frankie Knuckle’s the arpeggiated repeated synthesizer in his track Your Love and it is continuos throughout My Girls.

Animal Collective – My Girls

Warren G – Regulate samples Michael McDonaldI Keep Forgettin’ (Everytime You’re Near)

Breakout track on the album Regulate… G Funk Era in 1994 for Warren G and Nate Dogg, from his debut album Regulate G-Funk Era. Cited as one of the quintessential G-Funk tracks, this song samples the four-bar sample of the rhythm of Michael McDonald’s ‘I Keep Forgettin’ (Everytime You’re Near) throughout out the whole song. The soulful keyboards, smooth rhymes and bass really creates a vividness of life in sunny summertime Long Beach California; hittin’ up blunts driving around in low-riders . The way that Warren G and Nate Dogg construct a story through the song is great; a hilarious story of getting jumped by thugs and then ‘bustin’ some caps’ on the punks and then finding some ‘hoes’ and taking them back to a motel. I can’t help but laugh and smile whenever I listen to this track. This song is unique in that it samples not only a piece from an existing song but also from a movie, the intro involves a quote by a character from the movie Young Guns, a movie with the Brat Pack in 1988.

Portishead – Glorybox samples samples Isaac HayesIke’s Rapp II

From the debut album Dummy of Bristol Trip Hoppers in 1994, this track featured in that movie The Craft; movie about teenage high schoolers dabbling in witchcraft. Sampling the strings from Isaac Hayes’ Ike’s Rapp II which appears throughout the track Glory Box. Track features such soulful vocals that carries your consciousness away to some kind of electronic dream. An incredible album featuring mellow guitars, hypnotic drumming and excellent sampling that cements Portishead as Trip-Hop pioneers.

Portishead – Glory box

De La Soul – Say No Go samples Hall and OatesI Can’t Go For That

De La Soul created a trademark for themselves with their playful lyrics allowing them to tap into the mainstream pop market whilst retaining some technical talent that kept them in high esteem amongst the Hip-Hop world. The track Say No Go appears in their 1989 debut album 3 Feet High and Rising. Sampling the smooth and sensual drumming from Philly synthpop soul duo Hall & Oates, which appears throughout the track Say No Go. The sampling of Hall & Oates and Parliament among many was gold, allowed them to form their signature sound that fused together funk and Hip-Hop leading to a great amount of accessibility whose appeal has not eroded over the years.


A great source of  the exampled I mentioned came from the site other samples I found on this great site included Ice Cube (Jackin’ For Beats) sampling Billy Squier (Big Beats), PJ Harvey (Written on the Forehead) sampling Niney the Observer (Blood & Fire), and Wilco (I Might) sampling The Stooges (TV Eye).

Please feel free to add the song titles for the tracks that you’ve heard sampled in this list to the Facebook Page and Forum thread. We’d love to hear your thoughts!