While sampling is now about as commonplace as breathing, it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when the technology was too expensive for most musicians to use. The first commercially available sampling synthesizers cost $18,000 in 1979, which, allowing for inflation, would be around $58,000 now. But in the mid-to-late 80s, cheaper equipment came on the market, and it wasn’t long before producers like Kanye West and Dr. Dre got super famous using samplers and their favorite records to create an altogether new sound.
Sometimes you’ll recognize a sample, but just as often you won’t. Here are 15 hits that you never realized sample another song, unless maybe you did. In which case, good job, you!
1. “Déjà Vu (Uptown Baby)” by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz
Check out that sweet, sweet Steely Dan “Black Cow” sample.
2. “Hold Up” by Beyoncé
This Beyoncé scorcher wouldn’t be what it is without the opening of Andy Williams’ “Can’t Get Used To Losing You.”
3. “Toxic” by Britney Spears
This Britney hit features a Bollywood classic, “Tere Mere Beech Mein” by Lata Mangeshkar and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam.
4. “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé (featuring Jay Z)
What has to be the most recognizable song on Earth, “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé, features “Are You My Woman” by The Chi-Lites.
5. “Fade” by Kanye West
Listen a bit to “Mystery of Love” by Mr. Fingers and you’ll recognize it from being used in Kanye’s “Fade.”
6. “My Name Is” by Eminem
Producer Dr. Dre worked his magic on this song with some help from a sample of “I Got The…” by Labi Siffre.
7. “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” by Shakira
The official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, this Shakira song features “Zamina Mina (Zangalewa)” by Golden Sounds.
8. “Hotline Bling” by Drake
The beginning of the Drake song is a little faster, but it clearly uses “Why Can’t We Live Together” by Timmy Thomas.
9. “Work” by Rihanna (featuring Drake)
This Rihanna banger uses a sample of “Sail Away Riddim” by Richie Stephens and Mikey 2000.
10. “Harder Better Faster” by Daft Punk
Daft Punk sampled “Cola Bottle Baby” by Edwin Birdsong on their song “Harder Better Faster.”
11. “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar samples the airy sounds of “Tiden Flyver” from Scandinavian music collective Boom Clap Bachelors.
12. “Kick Push” by Lupe Fiasco
The Lupe Fiasco song features “Bolero Medley” by Celeste Legaspi.
13. “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
You can hear a bit of cowboy in this monster hit featuring a sample of brothers’ Gianfranco & Gian Piero Reverberi song “Last Man Standing” (or “Nel cimitero di Tucson”) from the soundtrack of Django, Prepare a Coffin!