They Sampled Who? The Surprising Songs Behind Some of Our Favorite Jams

April 26, 2012  |  
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Source: rap-up.com

Ever been somewhere and heard a song that stopped you dead in your tracks? Not because it was just THAT good, but simply because you knew you you had heard that song in a different form sometime before. Or maybe that’s just me. It happens all the time to moi, and these days, there aren’t too many songs that haven’t been sampled. And when I tell people, “Did you know that ____ sampled ____??” the shock and surprise on their face is highly amusing. Maybe that’s why I decided to do this list. Some of these you might already know, some of them you won’t, but I can guarantee you’ll have some awesome new selections to put on your iPod/iPhone. Listen and learn.

“Hey Lover” by LL Cool J feat. Boyz II Men samples…

“The Lady in My Life” by Michael Jackson

If you have the Thriller album, you should know “The Lady in My Life.” It’s the ultimate smooth night cap jam, and if you know “Hey Lover,” it’s kind of in the same realm, but a bit more on the seductive side. I didn’t notice the sample until a New Year’s party where someone played this track, and someone else asked, you know what this sounds like? And for some reason, Boyz II Men came to mind. I was close, because this is more LL’s track, but the beat is identical. Just sped up. Check for yourself.

“Ms. Fat Booty” by Mos Def samples…

“One Step Ahead” by Aretha Franklin

I know, when you think of Ms. Fat Booty, you probably don’t think of the Queen of Soul (if you do, that’s weird…or mean), but you might start. Aretha (or Areefur as I like to call her) has so many classics, you might not know “One Step Ahead” off top. But after one listen of the light and lovely track, you’ll know the sample of it when you hear her vocals in “Ms. Fat Booty.” In the chorus and in the second verse of “One Step Ahead,” you can hear her contribution to one of our favorite jams by Mos Def…or Yasiin Bey?

Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” samples…

“Can It Be All So Simple” by Wu Tang Clan

Who knew L Boogie loved her some Wu-Tang? While cooking up “Ex-Factor” off of her massive The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album (which was rumored to be about Wyclef), the reclusive singer reached out for the Wu’s track from ’94 for inspiration. The break beat of the track and bass is used in her song, and we know Lauryn starts the song singing, “It could all be simple…” I’d recommend checking out the Wu-Tang cut for real. Smooth indeed…

“Be Happy” by Mary J. Blige samples…

“You’re So Good to Me” by Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield is a must if you’re looking for something with a deep groove to sample, and Mary’s people probably knew that when they reached out and grabbed “You’re So Good to Me” in the production process. The beat used in Mary’s classic song that we all jam to is clearly the exact same beat constructed by Mayfield in “You’re So Good to Me.” The strings are even in there too. Both are bangers though, and you can’t help but love both vocalists. *smiles*

“Party” By Beyoncé samples…

“La Di Da Di” by Slick Rick feat. Doug E. Fresh and “Right and Wrong Way” by Keith Sweat

The song you’ve been acting cute to in the club to with your girlfriends actually was inspired by the ultimate whiner and Rick the Ruler. Produced by Kanye West, the track has Slick Rick talking throughout in the background, and the first verse is very much inspired by the first verse of Keith’s jam, “Right and Wrong Way”: “You may be young but you’re ready!” I doubt you’ll look at this song any differently, but it never hurts to know a jam’s roots!

And Keith…

“Ill Do Anything (I’m Sorry)” by Ginuwine samples…

“Visions” by Stevie Wonder

Stevie is another individual who gets sampled like there’s no tomorrow. Just think of “Pastime Paradise” being used for Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Do I Do” being used for Ja Rule’s “Livin’ It Up.” But how Timbaland decided to take the VERY slow beat of “Visions,” speed it up and use it to help Ginuwine apologize to his boo, only a producer can know. But it sure sounds good either way. It’s an undeniable rip of the beat the minute you hear it…

Arrested Development’s “Tennessee” samples…

Prince’s “Alphabet St.”

Oh Prince, another fella who’s sound gets sampled often. Think “If I Was Your Girlfriend” in “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and more. However, he’s one of the few artists that doesn’t like it whatsoever if you try it without his permission. Case in point, Arrested Development. The afrocentric group tried to use a simple sample of Prince saying “Tennessee” (where he hopes to take his leggy new girl in “Alphabet St.”), and when they did so before clearance was offered, they were sued. The group had to pay Prince $100,000 after his lawyers waited to see if the song would do well. Once it did, they were served. But it was good money spent for the Grammy winning track that’s still groundbreaking to this day.

“No Diggity” by Blackstreet feat. Dr.Dre samples…

“Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers

Who knew how a song about a much missed granny could turn into something used to praise the way a woman works it. It worked though! Everyone was running around saying “no diggity” when the song dropped, not knowing the core of its infectious beat came from the very slow and somber track by Bill Withers. I can’t imagine the moment where Dr. Dre heard this song and thought, “OH SNAP! NO DIGGITY!”

“All Falls Down” by Kanye West feat. Syleena Johnson samples…

“Mystery of Iniquity” by Lauryn Hill

A true Yeezy fan from way back knows the story behind this one. After hearing Hill’s dope “Mystery of Iniquity” track off of her MTV Unplugged performance and accompanying album, he wanted to sample the song for “All Falls Down.” However, Lauryn’s people didn’t allow clearance of the track, so he did a cover, or interpolation of her song’s guitar riff, and asked singer Syleena Johnson to sing a part of the chorus. Imagine how nice it would have been if Lauryn would have hopped on this track, but Johnson definitely killed it in her own right. Classic!

“Back in One Piece” by Aaliyah feat. DMX samples…

“Sir Nose D Voidoffunk” by Parliament

For all those low-key Parliament fans who know more then “Flashlight” and “Give Up the Funk,” you probably heard this track from the “Romeo Must Die” soundtrack and knew immediately what you were hearing. Baby Girl’s track samples from the very bass-heavy, P-Funk track, “Sir Nose D Voidoffunk.” It even took the random piano part of the track and made it stand out. Both songs are hot though, one is just immensely longer than the other…guess which one…

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