R&B songs have a rich history of being sampled by artists from various genres, creating a bridge between generations and musical styles. One classic example is the sampling of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” in Kanye West’s hit “Stronger.” Released in 2007, “Stronger” features the iconic synth riff from “Billie Jean,” giving the track a fresh, energetic vibe while paying homage to the King of Pop’s timeless sound. This fusion of R&B and hip-hop elements showcases how sampling can revitalize older classics and introduce them to new audiences.
Another notable instance is Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love,” which samples the drumbeat from Audio Two’s “Top Billin’.” Released in 1992, “Real Love” blends R&B vocals with hip-hop beats, exemplifying the crossover between the two genres. The sample adds a nostalgic element for listeners familiar with the original track, while Blige’s soulful vocals inject a new layer of emotion into the music. Such instances highlight the creative use of sampling to reimagine and reinterpret existing R&B elements, allowing artists to create something entirely unique while building a connection to the past.
I love a good use of a sample. The good use! I love to hear it, I love to talk about it, if a remix has a sample….a good use of one, I probably like it more than the original. I love samples so much, I might just know the first song EVER sampled. Yeah, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, “He’s Gonna Step on You Again” by John Kongos 1971 samples an unknown African drum track. Recently we’ve seen more and more artist sampling themselves….mind blowing for me. On this playlist, I grabbed a few originals, some sampled by multiple artist, some only used once (to my knowledge) but in a big way….. link to the playlist at the end, enjoy.
Let Me Prove My Love to You – The Main Ingredient After the unexpected passing of vocalist Don McPhearson, the group found a new lead singer, this cut is off of the second album with Cuba Gooding Sr. leading the group. You may have heard of his sons…that’s sarcasm, of course. The very second I heard the song that samples this cut I recognized it. I bet you do too.
Daylight – Ramp As far as I know, there’s only one album by RAMP. This is easily the most recognizable track. The bands name is an acronym for Roy Ayers Music Productions. Roy isn’t credited with playing on the album but, as a writer on every cut. This song from 1977 has been sampled over 30 times!
Rapper Dapper Snapper – Edwin Birdsong This cut is listed as a sample for over 40 songs. Birdsong was a Philadelphia International artist and played on Stevie Wonder projects in the 70s.
Find Yourself – The Meters Only sampled a few times but, one of those is one of my favorite summer anthems.
Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Roy Ayers I might love every song that uses this sample, none of the 170+ songs as much as the original. Makes sense….it’s Roy
As Long As I’ve Got You – The Charmels Stax records group formerly known as The Tonnets, this song has been sampled over 50 times. One stands out above all others.
Show Me Where You’re Coming From – Carrie Lucas Is this really a sample? I don’t know, the entire track and vocal arrangement were lifted to make a New Jack Swing hit in ’88. It was used a couple of other times, see if you catch it right away.
Adventures in the Land of Music – Dynasty Solar Records band with a few memorable cuts, I don’t feel like this is one of them but, used as a great hip hop sample and once by a hip hop pioneer turned RnB Diva!
Take Me To The Mardi Gras – Bob James When you think of what a sample is….just a piece, this is the definition. This cut has been sampled over 450 times and for the most part, just the intro. Immediate recognition, right?
Look-Alike – Bob James I could make a playlist twice as long as this one with just Bob James cuts.
I Don’t Know What It Is But It Sure Is Funky – Ripple You might not know the sample but, you know the chant. Sing along
All Your Goodies Are Gone – Parliament Of course, PFunk is represented here.
Mothership Connection (Star Child) – Parliament and here. One of the most sampled artist in history
Baby, This Love I Have – Minnie Riperton Some really great music has come from flipping through parents’ record collections. This song has been sampled 24 times, I only know 1….but that 1!!!!