Sampling is arguably at the root of all music. Whether it’s subtle inspirations or a direct sample, what’s happening around us inevitably influences our creations. Although, in today’s technological boom, the art of sampling is easily forgotten. We can all agree that we’re living through a golden era of music technology. Plugins are off the charts, boutique hardware is back and it’s never been easier to get inspired.
Take our recent curation Instruments India, a dive into Indian heritage offering high-quality recordings direct from local musicians and their instruments. Shining a light on the rich history of these artists encourages producers to expand their horizons, experiment with cultures, and create innovative music.
In this blog, we look at the inspiring process of sampling and how some of our favourite tracks came to life.
Massive Attack are behind some of the most memorable music of their generation. The way that rimshot cuts through the mix in ‘Teardrop’, the kick pulsing through your veins, it’s timeless stuff. The trip-hop innovators have arguably one of the most distinctive sounds around, yet some of their most acclaimed work is sample-based.
Who would have thought that one of the most recognisable beats of our time came from world influence? Les McCann’s ‘Sometimes I Cry’ is the ticket to Teardrop’s magic. Stepping out of the suave jazz scene of 1974 and into the trip-hop of the 90s, this serene example evidences the timeless potential of sampling.
It goes to show that expanded horizons are often central to innovation. What came before us? How can this develop our work? Thinking outside the box encourages these moments of magic, even for the chart-topping legends Massive Attack.
Hands down one of the biggest tunes in electronic music. The Chemical Brothers’ influence on music production is seismic, and you guessed it, sampling is at the heart of their craft.
Scowling through 80s Arabic folk, the UK duo sampled the eccentric Najat Aatabou’s
’Goul Ell Hak El Mout’, resulting in one of the most innovative tunes out there. The unlikely collaboration creates an unparalleled zest, uniting cultures to create something truly unique.
Galvanize is one of those tracks that breaks just about every rule. Merging house with hip-hop and the UK with Morocco, the duo’s fearless creativity propelled them into the charts back in 2005.
Jay Z was one of the first to spot the potential in Arabian culture. This time it came straight from Hossam Ramzy and his Egyptian Belly Dancing Ensemble, leading to one of the American rapper’s biggest hits with over 60 million hits on YouTube.
Sampling is often a case of power in numbers. With so much to channel from the world’s cultures, when these unlikely collaborations occur, it’s a breath of fresh air. Who would have thought Jay-Z and Egyptian Belly Dancing would make history?
How about diving into our unique curation of Arabian vocal hooks and grabbing that piece of inspiration you never knew you needed? The same section also offers a gorgeous Chinese Woodwind pack to broaden your musical horizons.
M.I.A.’s ‘Jimmy’ is another example of a hit hugely inspired by world music. Straight from the mouth of Bollywood, M.I.A.’s 2007 release for XL Recordings is driven by the work of Trinidad and Tobago-born Parvati Khan.
Back in 1982, ‘Jimmy Jimmy Ajaa Ajaa’ was scored for the Bollywood movie Disco Dancer, only to be reshaped into M.I.A’s chart-topping track almost three decades later. Backed by a fresh 808 beat, the tune gains a modern charm and suits a whole new range of contexts, whilst honouring the magic of the 80s.
Inspiration is not always so far away. Fabolous ‘Make Me Better’ delves into Sherine’s serene Arabic flavour in this big track. The hypnotic beat that is intrinsic to track’s momentum arrives via the instrumental of ‘Al Sa’ban Aleh’ from just two years previous.
Purely by scoping contemporaries in completely different parts of the world, the vibe of the track is ignited by majestic Egyptian flavours. Taking just a second or two of the Arabic personality suddenly breathes new life into the music, forming a new and refreshing direction.
The art of sampling dates way back to the 70s. Rod Stewart took inspiration from Brazil in his massive hit ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, bringing the track to life through the infectious work of Jorge Ben. By harnessing South American funk, Rod Stewart finds himself with the perfect accompaniment to his lyrics.
These synchronistic examples of sampling highlight the magic buried in the process. It’s as if the pair were destined to unite, adding a unique zest that makes the track tick.
East meets West in some of Chase & Status’ essential early works. Another hugely unlikely collaboration of dubstep and Bollywood, the 2008 banger ‘Eastern Jam’ channels the Indian wisdom of Shreya Ghoshal, sampling her majestic vocals over gritty UK beats.
Originally scored for a Bollywood movie, the vocals from this 2002 piece have set many raves alight over the years. Complete culture swaps again proving the potential for innovation in stepping outside your usual genre.
Stepping back from your immediate surroundings is always a strong source of inspiration. Once you begin celebrating expanded horizons, your productions will also evolve. Perhaps you replace a bridge section with a quirky sample, swap your hi-hats for an Indian instrument, or layer up some 70s atmospherics. Step outside tradition and have fun with it, there’s a whole world out there!
Instruments India is a sample pack created in association with the cultural organisation Milap. The pack features a number of authentic Indian instruments as well as vocals, offering something more exciting and creative to unpack in your next project. You can download a free taster pack from the Instruments India sample pack below.
What is the best site for samples?
Loopcloud is the best site for samples. With over 4 million royalty-free samples in a wide range of genres including hip hop, dance, rock, and trap from some of the world's finest sample labels including IQ Samples, Ghost Syndicate, and Singomakers.
What are the most famous music samples?
Probably the most famous sample of all time is the Amen Break. The Amen Break is sampled from The Winstons’ 1969 track ‘Amen Brother’. It is a four-bar drum break that has been chopped up and reimagined in countless productions, most notably in hip-hop, jungle, and drum and bass.
Other famous samples include the Think Break from Lyn Collins’ 1972 track ‘Think’, ‘Tom’s Diner’ by Suzanne Vega, and ‘Funky Drummer’ by James Brown.
How to download free samples?
Loopcloud has over 4 million professional quality royalty-free samples for you to download. You can download any samples you like for free from Loopcloud by trying our 14-day free trial.
All of our monthly plans come with a 100-point 14-day free trial. You can spend those 100 points on any sample you like in the Loopcloud library.
After you’ve tried the 14-day trial, you can continue to access the Loopcloud sample library for as little as £5.99 a month.