2014 has been another great year for sampling and although there has been a serious drought of high profile Hip Hop LPs with notable sample content (unlike previous years), we have seen some huge singles from artists spanning the musical spectrum, with mainstream pop artists brushing shoulders with underground mainstays in this year’s list. Some major players kept themselves fairly quiet (most notably Kanye) in a year that also saw a few more established artists including Wu-Tang, Common, and (as of this week) D’Angelo, resurface. Pop acts like Iggy Azalea, Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj all dropped albums and dominated the radio with massive singles like ‘Fancy‘ and ‘Loyal‘, while stateside we saw the rise of street heroes YG, Migos, Young Thug and ILoveMakonnen alongside a new crop of in demand producers: DJ Mustard, Mike WiLL Made It, and Metro Boomin.
Here follows WhoSampled’s Top 10 ‘Hottest’ samples of 2014, based on the most visited pages on the site throughout the year:
Arriving in a batch of three new Drake tracks put out via the OVO website, ‘How Bout Now’ was the highlight of the drop, taking the smooth hook from a classic Jodeci track and handing it to Boi-1da and Jordan Evans to add some subtle phasing and an addictive beat. ‘6 God‘ also deserves an honourable mention here as it narrowly missed the top 10 but contains one of the coolest samples of a video game we’ve ever heard taking inspiration from SNES Classic Donkey Kong Country 2!
Hood Billionaire came as the first of Rick Ross‘ two albums of 2014 and this track stood out as the biggest of the bunch adding a new hook to a well known sample from Billy Cobham‘s ‘Heather’ (better known as the foundation to Souls of Mischief’s ’93 ’til Infinity’) in a move that 90s Hip Hop purists viewed as close to sacrilege.
Schoolboy’s major label debut Oxymoron dropped this year following the success of his mixtapes, Setbacks and Habits & Contradictions. An ethereal piano flip from The Alchemist just works here and provided one of the highlights of the album. *Side Note* ‘Man of the Year‘ probably would’ve scored fairly highly in our list but it was technically first released in 2013 so couldn’t be included.
Young Jeezy (or Jeezy as he now prefers to be called) released his album Seen It All: The Autobiography on Def Jam in September and this, the title track with Jay Z, flipping an awesome 70s Japanese flute loop, stood out as the clear highlight.
Jermaine Cole managed to slip out his latest album 2014 Forest Hills Drive just before the year closed out with minimal fanfare. Serious props deserved here because even though it’s had a late start, this dope sample flip has still made it into our list of the most popular samples of 2014! Make sure to check out our in-depth sample review of the album if you haven’t had the chance yet.
Action Bronson continued his streak of weird and wonderful this year (check the video) with this track sampling one of the more obscure recordings we’ve seen, as flipped by sample professor The Alchemist, his second appearance in this year’s top 10. Psychedelic guitars and rolling basslines drive the track appearing on his forthcoming Mr. Wonderful LP.
Unfortunately we didn’t see the follow up of 2012’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City this year but Kendrick did bless us with ‘I’ just in time for summer, which lifts quite liberally from The Isley Brothers classic ‘That Lady‘. Starting out with a straight replay of the original, the track slowly morphs into a more classic Hip-Hop beat with funky a b-line and knocking drums at a tempo quite far removed from that typically appearing on Good Kid.
A firm favorite with many at WhoSampled HQ, this track with an all star cast of Big Sean & E-40 on vocals, and Kanye West & DJ Mustard on the buttons was never going to disappoint. Coming with a dope video featuring cameos of the musicians involved playing a game of football (Yeezy as the coach is not to be missed…) this track made waves on Vine as much as it did in the clubs.
One of the most divisive tracks to appear on WhoSampled in the past few years came in the unlikely form of Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda‘ which acts as a sort of amplified, 2014 version of Sir Mix-a-Lot‘s crass hit ‘Baby Got Back‘. Included on her recently released album The Pinkprint this track’s success can be more than partly put down to its bootylicious video.
In a first since WhoSampled records began (back in 2012…) Kanye has been dethroned by Drake as the most viewed sample page on the website! This sample, actually submitted by Adam Feeney himself (big up!), is a pretty straightforward flip of an instrumental piece from Kingsway Music Library written by Feeney and Chester Stone Hansen of BadBadNotGood. Closing out the track is an emotional loop from an uncredited James Blake which lead to much speculation of an upcoming collaboration (we’ve still got our fingers crossed on that one…). Sparking a series of freestyles from artists like G-Unit and Meek Mill this track signalled a massive year from Drake and his OVO affiliates, especially considering they didn’t even release an album.