With all the controversy surrounding Lupe’s ‘recreation’ of the iconic TROY beat, you’d almost think hip-hop acts never dared mining a song for sampling material already dug up before them. While there’s of course extra brownie points involved for those catching the obscure and overlooked gems, what ultimately matters most is not what but how a sample is flipped. Want examples? We’ve compiled seven rigorously different flips of the same source material, some just sample the same song but a different part, others take the same sample but chop it into another dimension. And of course, hats are tipped to the acts providing the source material to make it all possible. Let’s go!
Public Enemy – Public Enemy Number 1 | Killer Mike – Big Beast
ORIGINAL: Fred Wesley and The J.B.’s- Blow Your Head
El-P tips his productional hat towards an act and production team (Public Enemy and The Bomb Squad) who’s influence can be felt throughout the entire album on the opening cut to Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music. Of course, ‘Blow Your Head’ has been sampled in countless rap tunes, but there probably isn’t a soul alive in this game of rap who doesn’t associate that sample with the iconic PE banger.
Rakim & Eric B – Eric B Is President | Kriss Kross – Jump
ORIGINAL: The Honeydrippers – Impeach The President
If you’d get a nickle for every time a sample of ‘Impeach The President’ was used in rap you’d have… an impressive collection of nickles.
Big Daddy Kane – Brother Brother | Prodigy & Alchemist – Stop Frontin’
ORIGINAL: Barry White – Playing Your Game, Baby
On Prodigy and Alchemist’s Return Of The Mac, arguably the last truly great album out of the Mobb camp up ’till date, Alan The Chemist chopped up a litany of samples for an album that was as steeped in ’70s soul as it was grimy. BDK already grabbed Barry White’s playalistic tune over a decade earlier but these cuts still differ strongly in atmosphere despite their shared melody.
Mobb Deep – Temperature’s Rising | 2pac – How Do You Want It
ORIGINAL: Quincy Jones – Body Heat
The Mobb and Pac beefed over lots of things, but employing the same sample wasn’t one of ‘em. Strictly speaking, Hav didn’t directly sample but used an interpolation for the chorus as the singer adopts the melody to Quincy’s cut, but both he and Johnny J tapped the same well to great effect.
Souls of Mischief – ’93 Till Infinity| Big K.R.I.T. – No Wheaties Ft. Smoke DZA & Curren$y
ORIGINAL: Billy Cobham – Heather
Speaking of cuts one shouldn’t touch, how about ’93 Till Infinity?’ KRIT didn’t have a problem with grabbing the same source, but then again, he found an entirely different angle.
Ghostface Killah & Tekitha – Walking Through The Darkness | Big K.R.I.T. – Just Touched Down
ORIGINAL: Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street
Again KRIT taps a familair well, but while you need to pay attention to catch him in the act, RZA builds a beat that almost sounds like a rap cover to the original. Which is perfect for Ghost, the soulman among rap’s elite, and a great performance by Tekitha, who held down a solo version of the song on the Ghost Dog soundtrack as well.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) | Down South – Open Sesame
ORIGINAL: Tom Scott and The California Dreamers – Today
Yeah, you heard it right. A mere two years after Pete & CL dropped one of the greatest rap songs of all time (yeah, I said it) the Beatnuts weren’t afraid to slice away at perfection and actually sampled the same bit Pete did for the now forgotten group ‘Down South’ on their album Lost in Brooklyn. Difference is, they chopped the saxophone a lot shorter and made a grimy golden age headnodder where Pete heard the basis to a melancholy masterpiece. Both are clearly dope beats in their own right.
Digging up the same sample could be a coincidence and even if it isn’t, doesn’t always mean an obligation to pay homage in any way. Some samples are so ubiquitous in rap (like the “UGH” in Syl Johnson’s ‘Different Strokes‘) it’d be ridiculous to lay any sort of claim to it. But while it can become blurry at times, there’s definitely a line between biting and paying homage. Pay attention Lupe, here’s two acts that did it right: