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8 Most Over-used Samples In Hip Hop History

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In the early days of hip hop, when it was just two turntables and a microphone, having a ready collection of samples and drum breaks was mandatory. It was just how things were done. But over the years, improved sampling technology and the introduction of live instrumentation made using the same songs over and over less necessary. Nevertheless, some samples refused to die. Some are even still used (and abused) to this day. For example...

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  • 8. Joe Tex - Papa Was Too

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • Audio Two - Top Billin'
    • EPMD - Jane Pt. 1,3,5,6
    • EPMD - Who Killed Jane
    • EPMD - Headbanger
    • Biz Markie f/ Heavy D. - We Write the Songs
    • Salt & Pepa - Tramp
  • EPMD sure did love this song, using it a whopping six times in as many albums. It made its earliest popular appearance on the Salt & Pepa single "Tramp" in 1986. But in the case of that particular sample, they had the common decency to at least kind of mask it a bit with a bunch of go-go music nonsense on top of it.

    Biz Markie and Heavy D., with help from "legendary" producer Marley Marl, couldn't really be bothered to exert that much effort. They just kind of played the sample and went to work. Give it a listen below. And no, that picture of Heavy D. doesn't go anywhere. So maybe just read ahead while you're listening. Unless you really like looking at the Bum-diddly-Hevster. And who doesn't? (Hint: I don't.)

    7. Kool & The Gang - NT

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • NWA - Gangsta Gangsta
    • Big Daddy Kane - On the Move
    • Public Enemy - B Side Wins Again
    • De La Soul - Keeping the Faith
    • Ultramagnetic MC's - Moe Love on the One & Two
    • Nas - It Ain't Hard To Tell
    • A Tribe Called Quest - Mind Power
  • Kool & The Gang's "NT" features one of those ubiquitous drum breaks that you would swear you hear in every hip hop song ever. And you're probably right. Amazingly, this song made its first major hip hop appearance as a sample on NWA's Gangsta Gangsta. What's so amazing about that? Give it a listen (because this is a family show we won't post it here). Now compare it to the clip below. Big Daddy Kane was awesome, but whoever produced this song was no Dr. Dre. He was miles ahead of most every other producer around, even back then.

    6. Billy Squier - Big Beat

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • Ice Cube - Jackin' For Beats
    • Special Ed - The Mission
    • Big Daddy Kane - Put Your Weight On It
    • Big Daddy Kane - Get Down
    • A Tribe Called Quest - We Can Get Down
    • EPMD - Get Wit This
  • In a perfect universe, Billy Squier's most sampled song would be "Everybody Wants You." Why? Because that's my shit, that's why. But nevertheless, it's nice to see an 80's rock has been like Billy Squier get some love from the hip hop world. This song has been used since way back in Run DMC's Krush Groove days. You know the song. The one that goes "here we go, here we go, here we here we here we here we here we go." Yeah, I don't know the name of that song either, but it's live, and we've all heard it, and it's awesome. For the most part, any song that has ever sampled "Big Beat" was pretty damn cool. Even if it was by a dude named Special Ed. And before anyone in the comments pipes up, I'm joking: I know the name of the Run DMC song is "Here We Go."

    5. James Brown - Funky President

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • Big Daddy Kane - Word To The Motherland
    • NWA - F**k Tha Police
    • De La Soul - Brain Washed Follower
    • Beastie Boys - Hey Ladies
    • Ice Cube - Jackin' For Beats
    • Public Enemy - Fight the Power
    • A Tribe Called Quest - Show Business
    • Ice Cube - I Wanna Kill Sam
    • Ice Cube - Horny Lil' Devil
    • Ultramagnetic MC's - I Like Your Style
    • Big Daddy Kane - Give It To Me
    • A Tribe Called Quest - Oh My God
    • Craig G. - Duck Alert
  • This list could, in all reality, be 20 entries long and every single entry could be a James Brown song. The Big Payback, Cold Sweat, Funky Drummer...the list is endless. But, as luck would have it, my favorite overused James Brown sample is Funky President. Fact #1, as a kid raised on hip hop, me and my friends called this the "Duck Alert" sample. Fact #2, I couldn't find "Duck Alert" by Craig G. anywhere on YouTube. If any benevolent commenters have inroads to a video clip of the song, by all means, post a link. It's awesome. In the meantime, check out the KRS One video below, which samples "Duck Alert" "Funky President" almost unaltered. I bet Craig G. wouldn't have made a video that looked like a low budget "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

    4. Melvin Bliss - Synthetic Substitution

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • Public Enemy - Miuzi Weighs A Ton
    • Public Enemy - Brothers Gonna Work It Out
    • Ultramagnetic MC's - Ego Trippin'
    • De La Soul - Potholes In My Lawn
    • Big Daddy Kane w/Biz Markie - Just Rhymin' With Biz
    • EPMD - Mr. Bozack
    • Special Ed - 5 Men and a Mic
    • De La Soul - Millie Pulled A Pistol on Santa Claus
    • PM Dawn - On a Clear Day
    • EPMD - Scratch Bring It Back
    • Tha Alkaholics - Bullshit
    • Tha Alkaholics - Turn the Party Out
    • Big Daddy Kane - Looks Like a Job For
  • With Melvin Bliss' Synthetic Substitution we're moving into the realm of hip hop sample royalty. I'm not completely sure Melvin Bliss is a real person. If you don't believe me, give him a quick Google search. The top result is a picture that, I assume, is Melvin with his back turned to the camera. After that, you get the labels from the 45 of "Synthetic Substitution" and a few pictures of dudes who are probably named Melvin that just happen to be tripping on acid. No matter what the case, Melvin Bliss is a damn hip hop institution. I have my suspicions that most of you reading may not know who the Ultramagnetic MC's ar. If you do, good for you. If you don't, check out the video below and revel in the days when rap music didn't blow.

    3. Zapp and Roger - More Bounce To the Ounce

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • EPMD - You Gots To Chill
    • Ice Cube - Jackin' For Beats
    • Public Enemy - Anti-Ni**a Machine
    • Public Enemy - One Million Bottlebags
    • Ice Cube - Look Who's Burnin'
    • Ice Cube - What Can I Do?

    And about fifty million other songs.

  • Is it possible that an east coast rapper could be responsible for spawning the "west coast sound?" Yes, yes it is. When Erick Sermon of EPMD sampled "More Bounce To the Ounce" in 1988, he effectively changed rap music forever. Up to that point, hip hop was all about James Brown samples and drum breaks lifted from obscure rock and R&B songs. After EPMD's seminal hit "You Gots To Chill," it was all about the funk. For a long, long time. Whether or not Erick Sermon gets his due credit for helping shape west coast rap as we know it, he'll always have one thing going for him that some famous west coast producers don't. There are no pictures of him floating around that look like this...

  • Score that as a win for Erick Sermon. Anyway, to hear the "More Bounce..." sample in action, check out the video below.

    2. Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers - Ashley's Roach Clip

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    • Eric B. & Rakim - Paid In Full
    • PM Dawn - Set Adrift On Memory Bliss
    • Lloyd - Girls Around The World

    And something much, much worse.

  • This is one sample that absolutely refuses to die. As recently as this year it was used prominently in a minor hit called "Girls Around the World" by R&B singer Lloyd. It found its earliest and most beloved use on the Eric B. & Rakim classic "Paid In Full" way back in 1987. But, give those drums a couple more listens. Are they bringing anything else to mind? Do you suddenly find yourself feeling a bit ill? Can't put your finger on the reason? Check out the video below, that should help (or hurt...a lot). Oh! And be sure to pay special attention to the lip syncing in the opening spoken word bit. It could not possibly be more appropriately atrocious.

    1. The Honeydrippers - Impeach the President

    Click Here To Listen

    As Heard On:

    Approximately 1 out of every 5 rap songs from 1988 -present.

  • If The Honeydrippers were actually paid for every time this song was sampled, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would be wealthy men. Wait...wrong Honeydrippers. Never mind, you know what I'm getting at. "Impeach the President" has been underneath more MC's than that Superhead chick who wrote that tell all book a few years back. Big Daddy Kane, Audio Two, NWA, LL Cool J, Ice Cube. The list is endless. My personal favorite "Impeach the President" jacking tune is below.

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