The Top 10 Most Popular Samples of 2014


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:

r60124_20141025_22465224852110) Drake’s How Bout Now sample of My Heart Belongs to U by Jodeci

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!

Rickross-thugcry9) Rick Ross feat. Lil Wayne’s Thug Cry sample of Billy Cobham’s Heather

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.

BreaktheBankScHoolBoyQ8) ScHoolboy Q’s Break Da Bank sample of Man’s Something Is Happening

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.

r31010_201471_1818538953987) Young Jeezy feat. Jay Z’s Seen It All sample of Tomadoi Twilight by Tazumi Toyoshima

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.

r3250_20141210_104771293336) J. Cole’s Wet Dreamz sample of Family Circle’s Mariya

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.

r36624_201487_145573375865) Action Bronson’s Easy Rider sample of Adımız Mıskınder Bızım by Mazhar Ve Fuat

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.

r3250_2014923_452284654304) Kendrick Lamar’s I sample of That Lady by The Isley Brothers

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.

r60124_2014915_1143183422163) Big Sean feat. E-40’s I Don’t Fuck With You sample of Say You Love Me, One More Time by D. J. Rogers

A firm favorite with many at WhoSampled HQ, this track with an all star cast of Big SeanE-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.

r2848_201482_1115407883412) Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda sample of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot

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.

r60124_2014811_1652395109661) Drake’s 0 to 100 / the Catch Up sample of Vibez by Adam Feeney and Chester Stone Hansen

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.

Words – Ethan Illingworth (@illersss)

Leave a Comment

PRhyme: The Adrian Younge Samples


The star-studded debut album from PRhyme, a collaboration between hip hop hall of famer DJ Premier and Detroit native Royce Da 5’9″, comes among a crop of albums crossing the line in the final moments of 2014 likely to sneak onto best of year lists. Not the first time the pair have joined forces (see early 2000s club bangers ‘Boom’ and ‘My Friend’ and the Axelrod sampling post-jail 2009 come back ‘Shake This’), this is the duo’s first collaborative long player. As well as boasting an enviable list of features, the duo also worked closely on the album with Wax Poetics affiliate Adrian Younge, in essence the third member of the group, Younge’s dynamite back catalog (pun intended) providing the majority of the album’s sample material. This album is the latest in a string of Younge collaborations with heavy hitters from the hip hop community, notably Ghostface Killah in 2013 and Souls of Mischief this year, not to mention being sampled on Jay-Z’s Magna Carta LP last year.

The album’s downtempo opening cut, the title track ‘PRhyme’, reworks Adrian Younge’s ‘Midnight Blue’ to great effect producing a cut indicative of the over all feel of the album. ‘U Looz’ (the video for which was filmed at Younge’s LA record store) opens with rough cut up of ‘Sound of a Man’ from Younge’s Venice Dawn project before changing pace with a sample from the soulful ‘Shot Me in the Heart’ taking center stage for the majority of the track. ‘You Should Know‘ is the only song on the album to feature material from Younge’s 2013 release with The Delfonics, drawing elements from the near psychedelic ‘True Love‘. The album’s lead single ‘Courtesy’ makes incredible use of ‘Tears I Cry’ from the soundtrack from the 2009 film ‘Black Dynamite’ (also scored by Younge), songs from which have previously been sampled by artists including Ab-Soul, Big Remo and Phil Ade.

‘Wishin’ featuring Common boasts another sample from Younge and Venice Dawn’s ‘Sound of a Man’ whilst  ‘To Me, to You’ featuring Jay Electronica takes multiple elements from Younge’s ‘It’s Me’ (also notable for being sampled in Common’s ‘7 Deadly Sins’ earlier this year). The penultimate track, ‘Underground Kings’, which includes features from both Schoolboy Q and Killer Mike who successfully compliment the sample of ‘Thunderstrike’ for one of the harder edged cuts on the album. The album ends with the also harder endged sounds of ‘Microphone Preem‘ in which a sample of ‘Two Hearts Combine‘ is used to solid effect bringing the album to a punchy conclusion.

In terms of the album’s general sound, the classic DJ Premier cut choruses are present (in many cases using vocal snippets from tracks produced by Premier himself) but the general production sound is relatively new territory for Premier. Much in the style of ‘Shake This’, we hear entire sections of the source material lifted rather than intricate chops over those classic Premo drum kit sounds that characterized his productions throughout the early 2000s. This is perhaps a result of the freedoms that come with working closely with the writer of the source material, the open collaboration with Adrian Younge being an excellent example of sampling artists working in synergy with the sampled artist to create a single coherent work. Hopefully this will prove to be a trend which will continue to provide similarly excellent results for hip-hop producers for years to come.

Words – Eddy Spirit (@Eddyspirit

Leave a Comment

Top 10 Old School Hip Hop Christmas Classics

As Christmas approaches, it’s time to start dusting off those classic Hip Hop Christmas platters. Here’s our run down of 10 all time classics:

mr1636_2012910_151038858601Lightnin Rich, Big John & The Maniacs – Santa’s Groove (1985)

A classic piece of mid 80s drum machine rap complete with Orch5 stabs. Delivered in first person as if rapped by Santa himself: “Santa Claus is here in the flesh and you best believe he’s totally fresh”.

Xmas_50Showboys – That’s What I Want For Christmas (1987)

Taken from Profile Records classic ‘Christmas Rap’ LP, downtempo drum machine hand claps provide the unlikely backdrop to samples of Bing Crosby‘s ‘White Christmas’. Best known for 1986’s Drag Rap, the track credited with spawning whole movements in Southern Rap, Showboys were flossing back in 87 with a Christmas list that included mansions and yachts.

mr10179_201111_35515402801Coldcut – Coldcut’s Christmas Break (1989)

Not strictly speaking a rap record, but nonetheless in the hip hop cut up tradition of the late 80s, Coldcut apply their then groundbreaking cut and paste techniques to a catalog of Christmas classics and classic breakbeats alike.

mr2_20081010_15047841719De La Soul – Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa (1991)

The least old school of our selections, the decidedly un-festive subject matter characterizes this tale of abusive relationships lifted from De La Soul’s sophomore LP. Classic breakbeats from Funkadelic and Melvin Bliss make up the sample material. Also worthy of mention is The Roots perhaps ever more somber cover version.

r31800_20111121_14114663454Hard Call Xmas – My Christmas Bells (1987)

Taken from the B-Boy Records Christmas record, Hard Call parody LL Cool J‘s 1985 anthem ‘Rock The Bells’ in a Christmas style.

R-570408-1381304277-6911.jpegThe Treacherous Three – Santa’s Rap (1984)

One of the more creative Christmas raps from the era sees LA Sunshine, Kool Moe Dee and Special K exchange bars, Kool Moe Dee playing the role of Santa defending himself in response to the complaints of the other two.

Xmas_50Disco Four – He’s Santa Claus (1987)

Another track taken from Profile’s Christmas Rap LP, this time in funkier, more uptempo territory.

r1636_2014613_145643653313Blondie & Freddie – Yule Town Throwdown (Rapture) (1981)

Blondie enlists the help of fixture of the early New York hip hop scene Fab 5 Freddy for this Christmas themed reprise of her 1980 pop-rap hit ‘Rapture’.

r100_20081127_53145478080Kurtis Blow – Christmas Rappin’ (1979)

Among the first rap records ever released, 1979’s ‘Christmas Rappin’ is the record that gave birth to the Christmas Rap trend and is still a go to party favorite 35 years down the line.

r610_200936_155543592120Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis (1987)

The undisputed champ of Christmas Rap records, this Clarence Carter sampling feel good cut remains a popular classic. Run DMC revisited the theme with 1992’s ‘Christmas Is’ giving the Christmas rap tend an early 90s update. Run returned for a third pass alongside an all star cast including Puff Daddy, Mase, Snoop Dogg & Onyx with 1997’s Fugees sampling ‘Santa Baby’.

Listen to a selection of these tracks and others like them in Chris Read‘s Merry Chrismixx!:

Merry Chrismixx! (World's Greatest Christmas Mix) by Chris Read (Musicofsubstance) on Mixcloud


Leave a Comment

D’Angelo: Sample Retrospective Top 5

14 years have passed since D’Angelo dropped his sophomore masterpiece ‘Voodoo’, the critically acclaimed follow up to 1996’s ‘Brown Sugar’. With the exception of occasional features (see collaborations with Dilla & Common, Q-Tip, Snoop & Dre) in the late 2000s, it’s been a near decade and a half since there was any glimmer of a full length offering. And then overnight the world has been blessed with ‘Black Messiah’, and on first listen there’s little to suggest it wasn’t every bit worth the wait. In celebration, we revisit 5 of our favourite D’Angelo appearances and their sample sources:

r4519_2010112_4327411574Method Man feat D’Angelo’s ‘Make Ups to Break Ups’ interpolation of ‘Marvin Gaye’s ‘Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again’

Not the only time D’Angelo and Meth have collaborated (Method Man appeared on ‘Left and Right‘ taken from the Voodoo LP two years later), D’Angelo delivers a catchy hook on this accessible hip hop / RnB joint interpolating Marvin Gaye‘s ‘Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again’.

r551_2009318_191556916128J Dilla feat Common & D’Angelo ‘So Far To Go’ sample of Isley Brothers ‘Don’t Say Goodnight’

This posthumous release from the late great J Dilla (taken from his 2006 BBE LP ‘The Shining’) combines a deft flip of the Isley Brothers mellow classic ‘Don’t Say Goodnight’ with guest vocals from Common and atmospheric hooks drowned in reverse reverb from D’Angelo, in places interpolating Junie Morrison’s ‘Tight Rope’.

r924_2009418_423242342D’Angelo’s ‘Cruisin’ cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Cruisin’

Taken from 1995’s ‘Brown Sugar’ LP, D’Angelo makes Robinson‘s 1979 Tamla soul cut his own. Retaining both the tempo, and general feel of the original down to the tambs in the drum track, D’Angelo’s delivery of the vocal is transformative.

r59035_2012921_132613977228D’Angelo ‘Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine (Jaydee Remix) sample of Dave Grusin ‘The Colorado Trail’

The second Dilla appearance in our Top 5, this unreleased remix from D’Angelo’s debut LP perfectly encapsulates the Soulquarians sound with a simple but effective Rhodes flip courtesy of Dave Grusin and crisp, snappy snares that characterized Dilla’s productions from the era.

r2929_2010510_122220839926D’Angelo’s ‘Devil’s Pie’ sample of Teddy Pendergrass ‘And If I Had’

Appearing on 2000’s Voodoo, this track first appeared on the 1998 soundtrack to the movie ‘Belly’. A rare R&B production from DJ Premier at a time when his attentions were more focused on Gang Starr material, the track bears all the hall marks of a classic Premo production – bumping drums, cut chorus and a deft chop (in this case of Teddy Pendergrass’s broody Philly Soul cut ‘And If I Had’). Atmospherics grabbed from Michel Colombier and Pierre Henry’s ‘Jericho Jerk’ are the icing on the cake.

Words: Chris Read

Leave a Comment

Sam Cooke: 50 Years On – Top 5 Influential Tracks


50 years ago today, Sam Cooke was shot dead in the Hacienda motel in Los Angeles, aged 33. In honour we look back on the lasting impact of his music. Cooke’s songwriting is widely considered to be timeless and has been cited as a major influence by other singer-songwriters as varied as Otis Redding, Rod Stewart and James Blake. Here we present the 5 most influential songs of his career.

chaingang5. Chain Gang (Sampled 12 times, Covered 12 times)

‘Chain Gang’ has proven to be fertile sample material for Mod Sun, long forgotten Jam City signees The U-Gods and DJ Interface. The main vocal hook has been interpolated by A Tribe Called Quest, Funkmaster Flex and Shinehead. The call-and-response pre-chorus can also be found buried amid a sea of reverb-soaked samples in Panda Bear‘s ‘Laughed for a World Filled With Fantasy’.

WonderfulWorld4. Wonderful World (Covered 16 times)

‘Wonderful World’ was first covered by The Supremes, who recorded a tribute album (‘We Remember Sam Cooke’) a mere 6 months after his death. Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry provided a characteristically flamboyant interpretation of the track in 1974. Frequent Sam Cooke re-appropriator Otis Redding covered the track on his 1965 record ‘Otis Blue’, along with 2 other Cooke songs. It was famously immortalised in film in the legendary 1978 frat-house comedy Animal House. 

Bring_it_On_Home_Cooke3. Bring It On Home To Me (Sampled 3 times, Covered 28 times)

‘Bring It On Home’ was covered by both John Lennon and Paul McCartney during their post-Beatles solo careers. It has also found favour with the likes of Van Morrison, UB40 and The Animals.

You_Send_Me_Sam_Cooke2. You Send Me (Covered 26 times)

‘You Send Me’ was one of Cooke’s biggest chart hits, reaching #1 in the US R&B Billboard chart in 1957. At the time it was considered extremely tough for successful songs by black singers to crossover into the main pop charts, ‘You Send Me’ bucked the trend and repeated its success in the main Billboard chart, despite an attempt by his record label to re-release the track, re-recorded by white singer Teresa Brewer. In retrospect ‘You Send Me’ has been seen as pivotal in enforcing positive change in the music industry of the time. The song has been covered by Roy Ayers, Michael Bolton and The Manhattans.

change1. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sampled 22 times, Covered 43 times)

Perhaps Sam Cooke’s best-known song, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ has been inducted into the Grammy hall of fame, and was paraphrased in Barack Obama’s 2008 United States presidential election victory speech. It was covered by The Fugees, Aretha Franklin and The Jackson 5. The lush string arrangement from the intro to the track has been sampled by Nas and DMX whilst the vocal hook has been used by Ghostface Killah and Cam’ron.

Leave a Comment

J. Cole ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive': The Samples


J. Cole returns to Roc Nation with his third and most refined album to date. Dropping with no lead singles, no credited featuring artists, and production coming mainly from the man himself 2014 Forest Hills Drive strips back Cole’s sound and shifts the focus from hooky choruses to raw wordplay, diverse sampling and emotive story-telling.

r3250_20141210_104771293331) Intro

A slow, heartfelt opener with Cole singing/rapping sets the tone for the album, doing away with the sleek, poppy feeling of his last offering Born Sinner we know we’re in for something a bit different this time around. Alongside the visual accompaniment of Cole riding around town on his bike, headphones in, this offering immediately shows a much deeper / more humble side to his usual braggy character.


r3250_20141210_1053437294212) January 28th (samples Sky Restaurant by Hi-Fi Set)

The first sample flip of the LP with some airy vocal samples and guitar licks from an obscure 70s Japanese record providing the backdrop and in what seems to be a deliberate theme across the record as Cole lets his lyrics, particularly the verses, take the forefront. His comments and support of the recent civil unrest in America have been showcased previously in his Michael Brown tribute ‘Be Free’, but it’s his rhyme here that feels particularly poignant given the current situation in Ferguson and across the states:

“What’s the price for a black man life?
I check the toe tag, not one zero in sight”

r632_2009318_1343166272973) Wet Dreamz (samples ‘Mariya’ by Family Circle and ‘Impeach the President’ by The Honey Drippers)

Cole comes through with a classically executed combo of boom-bap drums from the anthemic Impeach break and a chopped soul record from Family Circle. However, the track doesn’t meet its full potential due to the lyrical content which is something of a mismatch as Cole elaborately describes how he lost his virginity as a younger man.

r24845_2013101_123825242904) 03′ Adolescence (samples ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ by Sonia Rosa feat. Yuji Ohno and interpolates ‘Runnin’ (Dying to Live)’ by 2Pac feat. The Notorious B.I.G.)

Another great sample flip of an atmospheric, string section from Sonia Rosa with production from Willie B carries this track as Cole describes his experiences graduating from high school, replaying classic lines from Biggie and getting turned away by a drug dealer for having too much potential.

r60124_2013614_1725364332335) A Tale Of 2 Citiez (samples ‘Blocka’ by Pusha T)

Vinylz delivers the hardest beat of the record so far, as Cole kicks things up a notch. A simple but effective chorus (“Hands in the air” x4) shows he’s aiming squarely for the club with this one, but in general it feels quite derivative of some of the ground Drake and more specifically 40 covered in 2013’s Nothing Was The Same.

r3250_20141210_72225772746) Fire Squad (samples ‘Heart Breaker’ by Aguaturbia,  ‘Midnight Theme’ by Manzel and ‘Long Red’ by Mountain)

J. Cole joined by Vinylz on the buttons again and the pace remains high as a deliciously crunchy drum beat from Manzel rides a snarling bassline and guitar hook a Chilean psychedelic rock track by Aguaturbia, along-with saturated vocal chops from Mountain’s much plundered ‘Long Red’. Cole fires some shots here addressing the current trend of white appropriation of Hip Hop culture, specifically pointing fingers at Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Macklemore and Iggy Azelea but caveats it with a “Just playin” which does slightly detract from his conviction.

7) St. Tropez (samples ‘That’s r115_2009316_20640365015All Right With Me’ by Esther Phillips‘Hollywood’ by Rufus & Chaka Khan and ‘Sister Sanctified’ by Stanley Turrentine)

My personal favourite flip of the album comes from the strikingly melodic Esther Phillips sample Cole loops up here (more well known from the Mobb Deep use) and embellishes with sung passages, additional strings, horn sections and a rolling beat showcasing Cole’s skills as a producer/composer as well a lyricist. Recycling a line from Rufus & Chaka Khan‘s Hollywood for the hook, he also beefs up the percussion using a loop from Stanley Turrentine‘s much sampled Sister Sanctified.

r3250_20141210_729181275658) G.O.M.D. (samples ‘Berta, Berta’ by Branford Marsalis and interpolates ‘Get Low’ by Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz)

Chopping up an awesome african vocal loop from Branford Marsalis, Cole adds a bouncing minimal beat and keeps adding and subtracting elements throughout which makes this track feel like one of the more disparate elements of the album. The hook comes from an uncredited guest (any guesses?) and takes significant inspiration from Lil Jon‘s party hit ‘Get Low’ whilst Cole discusses the drawbacks making it big and his new outlook on fame.

r7443_2010511_33284422569) No Role Modelz (samples ‘Don’t Save Her’ by Project Pat feat. Crunchy Black and ‘Fool Me Once’ by George W. Bush)

Opening with an ode to the Fresh Prince‘s Uncle Phil (RIP!) this track comes correct with another catchy chorus taking inspiration from Project Pat over a Trophies-esque beat with production from Phonix Beats but the real highlight here comes from a well timed comedic sample of George W. Bush fumbling his way through a keynote speech.

r3250_20141210_1047712933310) Hello

The second half of the LP settles into more relaxed groove and Hello is another opportunity for Cole to sing from the heart with co-production by wonderkid Pop Wansel. By no means a perfect vocal performance but it’s refreshing to hear him being earnest and straight-up with his intentions instead of hiding behind his production.

r3250_20141210_7415083352511) Apparently (samples ‘La Morte Dell’erminia’ by Filippo Trecca and ‘CB#5′ by Carlos Bess)

Piano backing again but this time underpinned by a sample of Italian musician Filippo Trecca and one of the more memorable hooks from Cole along-with his signature drum programming and a loop of a break from much sampled Carlos Bess.

r2_2009330_10403531777412) Love Yourz (samples ‘Long Red’ by Mountain)

Melodic piano loops and boom-bap drums float around with distorted vocal shouts from Long Red again with production coming from Illmind, Cardiak and Critical backing up Cole on one of the standouts from the whole album as he summarises the ground covered so far and stresses the unimportance of money and his focus on happiness.

r3250_20141210_1047712933313) Note To Self

Rounding off the album with a lush studio production bumping 70’s horns, gospel vocals and Cole singing and rapping his way right through to the end. The track abruptly climaxes and wraps with the most euphoric moment of the LP, as if the school lunch bell has rung he bursts to life and begins running through his shout outs for the album. Admitting that he didn’t hand in his thank you’s in time to go to print with the CD, this final track acts as a credits section to the album and it’s really very refreshing to hear a rapper on Cole’s level talking so candidly in the context of a major label album.

Perhaps most importantly Cole makes reference to the state of sampling in 2014, and we get the impression he’d have liked to drop this album much earlier in the year but clearances caused some delays. Happy to pay for his samples, Cole addresses the artists he’s been inspired by and sampled:

“You was inspired by the world allow the world to be inspired by your shit, and to use your shit.”

He also claims he’s going to visit the Supreme Court to resolve the issues currently surrounding the artform and we sincerely hope he’ll hold his word because out-dated legalities should not be stifling creativity!

Words – Ethan Illingworth (@illersss)

Leave a Comment

The Hives go ‘Behind The Sound’ for Bose #ListenForYourself

Sponsored post

#ListenForYouself is a new project brought to you by Bose in conjunction with Vice, Spotify & Facebook, taking you ‘behind the sound’ of a number of classic tracks from the last 15 years via a series of videos which explore the making of those records. Featuring interviews with the bands and artists, the videos offer a unique window into the creative processes behind an eclectic selection of much loved titles. First to feature in the series were Bloc Party who speak on the making of their 2004 breakthrough ‘Banquet‘. The latest edition sees The Hives talk about the home town inspirations behind their single ‘Hate To Say I Told You So‘.

Stay tuned for the final edition which sees poster boy for popular sample based music of the 90s Fatboy Slim break down samples from his 1998 Big Beat anthem ‘Rockafella Skank‘.

Discover the stories beyond the sound
 and #ListenForYourself at

Leave a Comment

The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed 45th Anniversary


Today marks the 45th anniversary of the release of The Rolling Stones‘ seminal album Let It Bleed, in honour we look back on its lasting legacy. The record is considered to be one of their most-loved and notable releases, containing several of their best known tracks. The recording of the album coincided with one of the most turbulent periods of the band’s history, guitarist Brian Jones being asked to leave the band in the middle of recording sessions (replaced by Mick Taylor). Jones died less than a month later, aged 27, by drowning in his swimming pool – a death still surrounded by mysterious circumstances. The Stones performed a concert in London’s Hyde Park 2 days later, which they dedicated to Jones.

The lead riff of ‘Gimme Shelter‘, undoubtedly the band’s most famous recording, has found favour as a sample in recent hip hop tracks by Spanky Danky and Kurupt, The Underachievers and Benzino. Manchester acid house legends 808 State also provided a unique interpretation of the track in 1993. The opening cut of Let It Bleed has also been licensed countless times in film, perhaps most notably by Martin Scorcese. Gangster epics ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Casino’ and ‘The Departed’ all feature ‘Gimme Shelter’ in similarly-directed montage sequences.

Monkey Man‘, one of the less well known tracks from the record, has had its ominous piano chord sequence and easily-hummable bass line sampled by The Backyard Rangers, Young Black Teenagers, Mr Lif and RJDJ2-produced group MHz.

Country Honk‘ is often recognised as a country-style rearrangement of the band’s hit single Honky Tonk Women (which has been sampled by LL Cool J, Tone Loc and Beck – amongst others) but according to Keith Richards ‘Country Honk’ was actually the original version of the track, the more famous single version ‘Honky Tonk Women’ actually being a re-write. The honking noise heard towards the beginning of the track is a sample of their tour manager Sam Cutler’s car horn.

Album closer You Can’t Always Get What You Want‘ is another of the band’s most recognisable tracks, the chorus ingrained in the collective pop culture memory by its lush choral arrangements. Originally released as the b-side of the ‘Honkey Tonk Women’ single it has been covered by artists as varied as Def Leppard, Aretha Franklin and Luther Allison.

Words: Henry Macleod (@airbagmusic

Leave a Comment

Wu-Tang Clan – A Better Tomorrow: The Samples

Better tomorrow 400
This week finally saw the release of Wu-Tang Clan‘s 6th Studio Album (7th if you also count ‘Once Upon a Time In Shaolin’, the album ‘released’ last year of which only one copy was pressed, currently either locked in a silver box somewhere between Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains or in the possession of Skrillex, depending on which internet rumors you choose to believe). The group’s first publicly available album in 7 years (a period that’s seen its fair share of online chatter about in fighting among group members) the album has been met with anticipation and trepidation in equal measure.

Wu-Tang have achieved the rare feat of being simultaneously one of the greatest rap groups of all time and having a somewhat checkered 20+ year recording career. Their 1993 debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is undeniably a classic, fresh and different on release and still full of energy and raw sonics 20 years on. The first round of Wu-Tang solo LPs have fared well too, ODB‘s Return to the 36 Chambers full of anarchic charm and Liquid Swords allowing GZA to build on Enter the Wu Tang’s Kung Fu themes to great cinematic effect. Since then however one can’t help but feel that we’ve seen 20 years of recording overshadowed somewhat by the dynamite impact of those debuts. Every member has had their high points of course, Ghostface delivering on Long Players arguably better than most, RZA’s occasional soundtrack work having some golden moments and Method Man being a reliable go to guy for a guest verse for all occasions but Wu Tang group long players have typically been patchy in comparison with their debut and that theme unfortunately remains with their latest offering. Here we break down the album by reference to its sample material and production:

mr5875_2012122_222466858861. Ruckus in B Minor (samples Ol’ Dirty Bastard – ‘Brooklyn Zoo’ & ‘Protect Ya Neck II The Zoo’)

Proceedings kick off with promise. With Adrian Younge at the helm, this is with little doubt the album’s stand out track. ‘Ruckus in B Minor’ is full of that old Wu-Tang energy, featuring a rocky, drum heavy backing track full of throaty hammond chords and atmospheric guitars peppered with anarchic adlibs from the late great ODB lifted from two of his memorable cuts giving a convincing illusion of the old band back together again.

r20774_20141126_2112509797722. Felt (no credited samples)

High hopes are quickly shattered with the arrival of ‘Felt’, a lack luster track backed with a paper thin 80s drum machine groove and none of the grit and soul that has made so many Wu-Tang offerings golden.

r2_2008911_1559251132173. 40th Street Black / We Will Fight (interpolates Isaac Hayes – ‘Theme from Shaft’, samples Beside – ‘Change The Beat (Female Version)’ & interpolates GZA – ‘Liquid Swords’)

40th Street Black cuts a middle path between the extremes of the album’s first two tracks – drum machines are still present, but marching horns and an uptempo bounce give a flow reminiscent of (but not as memorable as) Gravel Pit’. A passing reference to Isaac Hayes ‘Theme from Shaft’ and DJ cuts of the ubiquitous Beside ‘Aaah’ give a nod to old school credentials while a brief interpolation of ‘Liquid Swords’ makes reference to the golden era of Wu.

r20774_20141126_2112509797724. Mistaken Identity (no credited samples)

Gospel piano and organ give way to the jam session-esque body of the track with a solid delivery from Method Man but little that could be described as any real energy.

r20774_20141126_2112509797725. Hold the Heater (no credited samples)

This is undoubtedly the album’s low point. Opening with the sort of synths last heard on early 2000s Lil Jon productions (appearing again on the hook), the verse sections switch to a more typically Wu funk guitar groove but even the familiar barrage of Kung Fu movie fight sound effects can’t revive the uncaptivating delivery and forgettable drum programming.

r20774_20141126_2112509797726. Crushed Eggs (no credited samples)

Adrian Younge’s back on the boards for this one and we’re back in business with that authentic 60s / 70s soul sound that we’ve come to expect from one of the stand out collaborators of the year.

r1914_2009910_215515136987. Keep Watch (samples The Sweet Inspirations – ‘You Roam When You Don’t Get It At Home’)

Midway into the album it’s clear (if it wasn’t already) that Wu sound at their best over gritty 60s/70s soul grooves whether recreated by the likes of Adrian Younge or sampled from source. Here producer Mathematics digs up a infectious 70s soul groove from the The Sweet Inspirations to great effect.

r20774_20141126_2112509797728. Miracle (no credited samples)

This track is a genuine oddity. You’d be forgiven for mistaking the intro for something from a Disney soundtrack with its balladesque flow and sweet sentiment. Things quickly get more gritty with the introduction of pounding drums but it’s a strange juxtaposition that just never really quite works.

r2929_2010812_1246238653039. Preacher’s Daughter (interpolates Dusty Springfield – ‘Son of a Preacher Man’)

The band who appear on the majority of featured tracks do a solid job here recreating the horn line from the late 60s Dusty Springfield classic ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ but hearing Wu re-sing that chorus hook (switching the word ‘son’ for ‘daughter’) somehow seems to overstep the boundary of tasteful reinterpretation.

1-Man-Show-Lewis-Floyd-Henry-Covers-Wu-Tang-Clans-PROTECT-YA-NECK10. Pioneer the Frontier (samples Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Protect Ya Neck’)

Downtempo drums and sinister strings set the tone, punctuated periodically with the Kung Fu theme tension music that any Wu fan will instantly recognise from the intro to ’93 single Protect Ya Neck. Despite the very deliberate reference to the Wu of old, delivery here fails to live up to the standards set in that classic material.

r20774_20141126_21125097977211. Necklace (no credited samples)

One of only a few tracks not to be produced by RZA, 4th Disciple comes correct with a sinister cut on which GZA in particular delivers.

r20774_20141126_21125097977212. Ron O’Neal (no credited samples)

Back in live jam session territory ‘Ron O’Neal’ hangs together better than most similar tracks on the album although the R&B chorus arguably sits uncomfortably with the remainder of the track.

r100_20081110_19444193603313. A Better Tomorrow (samples Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes – ‘Wake Up Everybody’)

A liberal but well executed sample of the Harold Melvin classic sets an uplifting tone for the album’s title cut. Method Man makes a good choice to open the track with a fired up verse on par with some of his best. Sampling here is by no means transformative, but it’s tastefully executed and delivers more soul than evident elsewhere on the LP.

r32163_20111024_12344642819414. Never Let Go (samples Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech)

A sizeable portion of Martin Luther King‘s famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech opens the cut. The track once underway is another live band affair which works well with the exception of a curiously off key hook.

r1058_2010624_6332741110015. Wu-Tang Reunion (sampled O’Jays – ‘Family Reunion’ & Wu Tang Clan ‘Protect Ya Neck’, interpolates Raekwon – ‘Glaciers of Ice’ and Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Reunited’)

The only track to have previously been available, ‘Wu-Tang Reunion’ first appeared in 2013 under the name ‘Family Reunion’. The sound of children playing (Wu-Tang is for the children after all) is interrupted by that same classic Wu-Tang sound effect from Protect Ya Neck as appeared in Pioneer Frontier. The body of the track is based on the O’Jays classic ‘Family Reunion’, a sweet soul cut that creates an atypically soft tone. Vocal interpolates from a couple of Wu classics also make an appearance for a track which is, although not one of the album’s stronger cuts, a solid choice for an album closer.

Words: Chris Read

Leave a Comment

WhoSampled’s Chris Read Interviewed re ELO Mixtape [Video]

WhoSampled‘s Chris Read speaks to the late ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt’s nephew Darren Groucutt regarding the band’s impact on the music of today and the inspiration behind his recent ELO mixtape produced in conjunction with WhoSampled in support of the Kelly Groucutt Blue Plaque Campaign.

Listen to the mixtape and check out the tracklisting here.

Leave a Comment

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 147 other followers