David Bowie’s Five Best Hip-Hop Samples
The art of sampling is a revolutionary art that has helped define hip-hop and beyond. The practice has provided countless songs with an unexpected second life, such as when MIA used “Straight To Hell” by The Clash to complement their hugely popular single “Paper Planes,” suddenly passing on Joe Strummer’s genius work to a whole. new demographic.
Sampling alone ushered in new life in songs of yesteryear, tracks that then enjoyed an Indian summer after being reimagined by another artist. The Winstons’ “Amen Brother” takes the crown for most sampled track of all time, with its drum break reused 5,377 times and it’s not over yet. Everyone from NWA to Oasis has incorporated this material into their work and made it one of the most familiar sounds in music.
English engineer Harry Chamberlin developed the first sampler in the 1940s, and the importance of the invention grew with each decade. The secret of the device was that it contained a keyboard that triggered a series of tape recorders capable of holding eight seconds of recorded sound, sowing the seeds for the future of music.
Further development took place in 1969 when English engineer Peter Zinovieff designed the first digital sampler, the EMS MUSYS, and all you need is a laptop or even a phone in 2021 to try.
David Bowie is an artist who has received the sample treatment more than most, and below, we’ve looked at five of the best.
David Bowie’s five best samples:
El-P – “Innocent Chief”
El-P, best known as half of the Run The Jewels supergroup – alongside Killer Mike – is one of hip-hop’s most incandescent minds. Besides being more than capable on the mic, production is where he really comes in, and his 2002 track “Innocent Leader” sees him reinvent Bowie’s “Soul Love”.
He uses the track as a bed to build an instrument around and transforms the classic into a barely recognizable entity. After Bowie’s death in 2016, El took to Twitter to write, “I was in session when Bowie’s news broke. We watched ‘Black Star’. The session was over. No point. “
Public Enemy – ‘Night of the Living Skulls’
Public Enemy has mastered the art of sampling and has been able to extract the magic from an existing grain of work in a magnetic way. With this, David Bowie’s iconic hit, “Fame”, formed the basis of their anthem, “Night Of The Living Baseheads”.
They cranked up the BPM and transformed it while keeping alive the same funky energy that Bowie poured into the original. “David Bowie… bold as hell. Rock, punk, theater, funk, disco, EDM. The dude was never afraid to fight the music or the lyrics, ”Chuck D said in 2016.
Ol ‘Dirty Bastard -‘ Dirty Run ‘
The late founder of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol ‘Dirty Bastard, remains one of the most enigmatic figures hip-hop has ever produced. ODB was another rapper who took inspiration from Bowie and his posthumous album, Osirus sampled ‘The Starman’.
The album was released just a few months after his death, and the track, “Dirty Run”, incorporates “Fame” while also featuring a sample of Run DMC.
J Dilla – “Take note”
Another pioneering mastermind who elevated hip-hop is J Dilla. He produced records for The Pharcyde, De La Soul, Common, and the late artist’s hand in shaping the sound of hip-hop can still be heard today.
His preview clip of Bowie’s “Soul Love” on “Take Notice” came just a year after El-P used the same track from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, which shows how easy it is to produce a domino effect. However, Dilla molds the song into her mold to such an extent that you’ll be hard pressed to realize it exists, providing a glimpse into her ethereal skills.
Jay-Z – “Takeover”
Jay-Z is no stranger to sampling the luminaries of rock music. After all he did The gray album who interrupted his record, The black album, with the Beatles The white album, and David Bowie is another artist the rapper brought into his world.
The “Takeover” produced by Kanye West, which appeared in 2001 The plan, marks the last appearance of “Fame” on this list, and it’s a lesson in how to sample. Not only does the Bowie track mentioned above figure, but West also incorporates “Five To One” by The Doors and “Sound of da Police” by KRS-One.