"Godfather 4," an Action Bronson-assisted track from Curren$y's upcoming The Drive In Theatre, is blessed by a dramatic string sample. Producer Nesby Phips pulled it from the first 10 or so seconds of The Jacksons' "This Place Hotel," from their 1980 album Triumph. True to the title of "Godfather 4," the strings sound like they could come from one of the "Godfather" soundtracks, but as those have been sampled to death by hip-hop artists, Phips chose an excellent substitute.
For their comeback track "Taking You Off Here," Queensbridge veterans Mobb Deep dug deep to find a fitting sample. The instrumental, driven by an organ and an electric guitar, comes from a song called "Cold Chillin" by a small-time producer named SF Perkele, who's so obscure that there are absolutely no images of him on Google. It could be that Perkele and Mobb Deep sampled the same source material, but if that's the case, the original track is rare enough that it's not currently online. If you have your own theory about the origins of the "Taking You Off Here" instrumental, let us know in the comments.
Madlib's about as creative a sampler as you can find these days, and "Robes," his latest collaboration with Freddie Gibbs, does not disappoint. Flipping a smooth sample from Lenny White's "Sweet Dreamer," Madlib creates a relaxed atmosphere for Gibbs, Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis to flow over. White, a jazz drummer who played with Miles Davis and Chick Corea, would be proud.
Sometimes the best samples aren't from dusty vinyl grooves. That's the case with Isaiah Rashad's "Menthol," which borrows its warped piano from L.A. beatmaker Tokimonsta's 2009 song "The World Is Ours." Blending perfectly with Rashad's verses and Jean Deaux's soulful chorus, the sample finds new life as a backdrop for this romantic rap track.
In this feature, we break down some of the past week's hottest tracks by their samples.
When hip-hop began, samples were all that DJs and producers had to construct instrumental tracks with. They'd dig through crates of vinyl trying to find isolated drum breaks, melodies or vocals that they could repurpose for use in hip-hop music. Today, sampling has become less common, but a choice sample can still push a track from lukewarm to hot faster than you can say "uh huh honey."
Check back every Thursday for more record breaks from your favorite artists.