Sometimes there is a song with samples that if you think too hard about them your brain will explode. No matter the artist and your love of them, you can’t help but question their use of it. You listen to the song and all you can focus on is the sample and how much you love or hate it. It might make you angry, skip the song, plague your mind for days, or make you hate on the music industry for letting it happen in the first place. But hey, maybe relax for like five seconds— leave your inhibitions at the door and fall in love with what someone has done with it. So let’s shut up and celebrate the samples that gave you brain bleeds, the good and bad kind.
Black Eyed Peas, "Meet Me Halfway"
Sampled: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Maps"
I’m gonna be outnumbered on this one, but when Black Eyed Peas released this I thought it was pop brilliance. If you don’t agree, you’re just not willing to admit you enjoy it. The opening drums and ringing guitar from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ track “Maps” can take a lot of the credit for making this song so appealing. Maps is one of the best tracks of the mid-2000s, so of course Will.I.Am used it—he’s a freaking tastemaker for douche lords who’s trying to appeal to non-douches. So well played Will.I.Am, you won me over.
Cam’ron, "Golden Friends"
Sampled: The Golden Girls theme song
You could write a whole post about the crazy songs Cam’ron has sampled over his manicured bearded career. But this one is the best of all the stupid samples the Dipset king has ever used. I remember the first time I heard this I was like, “this is stupid” but by the end of it I totally, “everything should be this stupid!” Don’t intellectualise it, just imagine you’re Cam’ron in his pink mink outfit. That vision makes it biologically impossible to not enjoying this.
Danny Brown, "30"
Sampled: Metronomy, "Nights Out"
This one isn’t as awkward, both artists are great and probably share a lot of expensive sneaker wearing fans. But I’d never expect these worlds to collide quite like this. What’s even crazier is that for the last track on Danny Brown’s album XXX, he samples the first song from Metronomy’s album Nights Out. It’s Inception for music nerds.
Rich Homie Quan, "Reloaded"
Sampled: Toto, "Africa"
Steezy, the co-host from my radio show, admitted he skipped this one when he listened to Rich Homie Quan’s incredible mixtape after hearing the opening five seconds. Life fail Steezy, life fail. The way the sample is flipped makes it the most enjoyable use of “Africa” in a long time. Sure this is Quan at 70 per cent of what he usually is, but give the track a listen and you’ll find that Quan is pretty much able to do his thing over anything and everything and come out victorious.
French Montana, "Sanctuary"
Sampled: Utara Hikaru, "Sanctuary" from the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack
I was never a big fan of Kingdom Hearts. I know people who absolutely love the shit out of it, but I do really enjoy that French had a song like this on Mac n Cheese 3. I enjoy his whack attempts to sing on it and the fact that no other Black Metaphor-produced track sound anything like this. I don’t know why the hell French is rapping on a pitched up version of a song from Kingdom Hearts, but I don’t really care.
Dom Kennedy, "Pleeze" (Feat. Nipsey Hussle)
Sampled: Arctic Monkeys, "Cornerstone"
Oh boy, this song will make you rip your head off and shot put it over your parent’s house. They only actually use a couple of bars from Arctic Monkeys in the opening, but the way it’s used is mind-blowing/head ripping. It adds a little extra pow to a really good g-funk style beat. When Dom does a somewhat shoutout to the original track with, “and we hang on the corner like a lamp post” I absolutely melt.
Freddie Gibbs, "4681 Broadway"
Sampled: Janet Jackson, "That’s The Way Love Goes"
I purposely saved this gold nugget of greatness for last, it always confuses me because it makes me think, “why isn’t Freddie Gibbs always this fun?” Is it just me or every time he raps does it feel like he’s talking about watching a 14-year-old get shot or a baby dealing drugs to Bambi’s dead mum? This song just feels so upbeat, I don’t even really know what Gibbs is rapping about. For all I know he’s talking about baby drug dealers, but it’s too groovy to care, it’s so groovy it permits the word “groovy” back into the English language to describe this song in this single moment.
Follow Chris on Twitter @tranterpants