Sample Some Samples, Yo!

Lizzie Gomes explores the art of creating new songs from the old.

I frickin’ love listening to songs that help me to discover or re-discover music I had forgotten about or plain damn well never even known about. How about you? Do you wanna know about the provenance of the awesomeness that fills your ears? If your answer is yes, check out - a joyous website, whose premise is to tell you who sampled who, in case the cannily cryptic URL didn’t give it away.

So, sampling is that special thing that gets me one step closer to connecting the never-ending dots in musical universe and for artists/bands, it can be an amazing way of tugging your forelock and giving a respectful nod to artists or songs that inspired you. Although, too often it seems like a bad pastiche work - a lazy attempt to put a brilliant beat to back of a 'thing' that is not yet a song and in fact would probably never actually become a “proper song” under its own merit. Much worse however are those moments when someone comes along and COMPLETELY WRECKS A SONG FOREVER. Fortunately for me when I think about samples I think about the good ones... or at least ones I like. Here are twelve of the best:

1. Spank Rock - 'Put That Pussy on Me' (Diplo Tonite Remix) / The Seeds - 'Can't Seem to Make You Mine'

Nice beats. A top remix by Diplo which means I get to type in the words pussy and spank into my iTunes with legitimacy. Also turned me onto The Seeds and 60s psychedelic rock.

2. The Fugees - 'Zealots' / The Flamingos - 'I Only Have Eyes For You'

Remember The Fugees?! Man, The Score was an excellent album and also gave us 'Zealots' which sampled both The Flamingos and The Temptations ('I Ain’t Got Nothin’'). If you’re a hopeless romantic like me you will love this Flamingos song. Used in heaps of film soundtracks too.

3. Slum Village - 'Fall in Love' / Gap Mangione - 'Diana in the Autumn Wind'

When it comes to rap and hip hop the samples (especially from Jazz tracks) are never-ending. 'Diana in the Autumn Wind' has been sampled by loads of people, but I like Slum Village’s drowsy interpretation best.

4. Chiddy Bang – 'Opposite Adults' / MGMT – 'Kids'; and Chiddy Bang - 'Out 2 Space' (feat. Gordon Voidwell) / Ellie Goulding (vocal sample)

Chiddy Bang are pretty fly. Is it not cool to say fly anymore? Was it ever cool? Whatevs. This Philadelphian hip hop outfit sample constantly throughout their debut album Breakfast, and what’s more they do it well.

5. Moby - 'Run On' / Bill Landford & The Landfordaires - 'Run on for a Long Time'

Moby’s Play album is chock-full of great early blues vocal samples. I feel like I can’t not mention him when he a) did it so well, and b) introduced me to traditional folk and amazing old blues and gospel artists like Vera Hall and Bessie Jones.

6. Fu-Schnickens - 'La Schmoove' (feat. Phife Dawg) / The Mohawks - 'The Champ'

The Champ is another one of those tracks that has been sampled to excess by a phenomenal amount of artists. This is a pretty sweet version with some impressive hyper-speed rapping from Chip Fu. FYI Fu-Schnickens were making cool kung-fu references way before Wu-Tang Clan did.

7. Fergie - 'Clumsy' / Little Richard - 'The Girl Can't Help It'

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t judge me to rashly here. "Why the hell do you like Fergie’s 'Clumsy'?" I hear you screaming. Have I suddenly lost all sense of musical taste and propriety?! No. It is because it samples super camp Little Richard of course... at least that’s the line I’m piping.

8. Gotye - 'Somebody That I Used To Know' (feat. Kimbra) / 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' (traditional)

Haven’t heard this song before? Well where the hell have you been?! Brilliant song matched by an equally brilliant video (see below). I doubt anyone has used a xylophone Baa Baa Black Sheep intro to such great effect before.

9. Us3 - 'Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)' / Herbie Hancock - 'Cantaloupe Island'

Some nice jazzy funky vibes here, plus Herbie Hancock is a Jazz legend.

10. Eels – 'Susan’s House' / Gladys Knight & the Pips - 'Love Finds Its Own Way'

The repeated piano lilt in Susan’s House is a great touch. Eels aren’t the only people to have sampled this little gem; amongst many others it also features on 'Yesterday' by Minneapolis hip hoppers Atmosphere from the album entitled When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. A life lesson for us all there.

11. Mariah Carey – 'Fantasy' / The Tom Tom Club - 'Genius of Love'

Mariah rules. There, I’ve said it. She likes butterflies, not wearing clothes and stroking invisible things in the air when she hits high notes; she also makes very effective use of sampling the hook from Genius of Love.

12. Skee-lo – 'I Wish' / Bernard Wright – 'Spinnin’' / Wale - 'W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.' / Justice – 'New Jack'

Excellent samplage chain going on here. 'I Wish' samples 'Spinnin’', 'New Jack' samples 'I Wish' (at 0.00 seconds, in case you miss it) and 'W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.' samples 'New Jack'. Hurrah for invention through imitation!

So what do you think? What are your favourite (or most hated!) samples? Leave a comment in the box below and share any other classic examples.

Spotify Playlist: