Monday, March 23, 2009

The most sampled artists in hip-hop?

We've often talked about sampling here through the years. It's been an integral part of hip-hop and when done well, it has brought us some great music by the likes of Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla, De La Soul and many more great acts! Those who have been sampled have not done too badly out of either and it has helped resurrect the career of many soul, funk and jazz artists who have deservedly found a new young audience and got some long overdue royalties to boot. The obvious beneficiary has been James Brown but it obvious works both ways, if there was no James Brown there most certainly would not have been hip-hop. This week I'm gonna count down the top ten most sampled artists by hip-hop. If you are into rap music and you don't have music by these guys I would highly recommend a trip to your local record store or get downloading fast!

1-James Brown
The hardest working man in showbusiness was also the most sampled, and he is rightly heralded as the Godfather of not only soul and funk but hip-hop too. His bands were so tight that the music formed a perfect template for hip-hop breaks, and there is hardly an influential hip-hop album that hasn't used his music over the years.

2-George Clinton
Parliament and Funkadelic used many of the same musicians as the Godfather in the late 70's and again the funk grooves were tight and with so much variety in their music, it wasn't just the drum breaks that became hip-hop staples. Particularly influential on the west coast hip-hop scene, there would be no G Funk without P Funk, of that I am 100% certain!

3-Kool and the Gang
A lot of people may only remember these guys for disco era hits like "Celebrate" and "Ladies Night", but back in the early 70's they were one of the top funk and soul bands on the planet and uptempo numbers such as "Spirit of the Boogie" aswell as jazz grooves like "Summer Madness" plus many more were used by loads of rap producers in the 80's and 90's.

4-Sly and the Family Stone
Sly Stone is a music legend and paved the way for Prince and influenced everyone from Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix to a few generation of hip-hop artists years later. His multi cultural band and peace and love vibes brought us some great music in the 60's, and when it all began to fall apart he left us with a despairing classic album ("There's a riot Goin On") that sounds better than ever in 2009.

5-The Average White Band
Scottish funk band who were anything but average laid down some amazing grooves and were suitably pillaged by A Tribe Called Quest and co

6-The Meters
New Orleans funk outfit who are massively respected and of course massively sampled aswell. In recent years Amerie's "I Thing" became a huge hit on the back of one of their grooves.

7-Bob James
Jazz funk flavours have always been really popular among hip-hop producers and Bob James, Grover Washington, Roy Ayers, Bobbi Humphrey and Donald Byrd are just a few who have brought us some of the most notable cuts.

8-Lyn Collins
Possibly the most sampled female singer, her "Think" track produced by James Brown is one of the most sampled tunes of all time. The intro, the break, the vocal stabs and just about everything else have been used many many times

More west coast flavours from Roger Troutman, who himself appeared on "California Love" and vocoded his way to hip-hop history with Zapp

10-Isaac Hayes
The late great Stax soul man was a terrific writer and amazing arranger, a fact not lost on the hip-hop people who not only took his look, but his beats and grooves! Barry White was another great soul singer and arranger similarly sampled.


james said...

what Im lookn for is a list with the original artist ,then the one's that sampled (name of new song)like STEVIE WONDERS gangsters paridise--redone by COOLIO or GAP BAND's outstanding--redone by SHAQ Im Outstanding or PATTI LABELLE's i love,want & need u--redone by NELLY & KELLY ROWLAND dilemma!I love ur site but Im wanting more info so I can show my son some history of hip hop. OLD SKOOL IS STILL HIP!!Thanks for the work u've put n, keep hip hop alive everywhere! holler at ya later, texasboy.

Anonymous said...


Rap artist Coolio talks about his upbringing on the tough streets of Los Angeles. Produced and directed by Pogus Caesar

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Hip Hop Drum Kits said...

The use of sampling is controversial legally and musically. Experimental musicians who pioneered the technique in the 1940s to the 1960s sometimes did not inform or receive permission from the subjects of their field recordings or from copyright owners before constructing a musical piece out of these samples.

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