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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Jun 11, 2014
Headline for The Song that Never Ends: 6 Songs that Use Samples
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The Song that Never Ends: 6 Songs that Use Samples

Sampling other pieces of music, from lyrics to beats, is a technique used often by musicians. Sampling a song can give it a new meaning, offer a new relationship to the listener, and shine light on the unfamiliar. Here are 6 hits that pull from other songs:

Paper Planes by M.I.A. –Song Sampled: “Straight to Hell” by The Clash

From one political artist to another, M.I.A. fits The Clash into her hit “Paper Planes”, likely knowing that the Clash would be down for the message. The upbeat music doesn’t mask the point about immigration and xenophobia she is trying to make, and The Clash had a similar way of speaking their minds through their music.

Changes 2pac-Song Sampled Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way it is”

2pac took Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way it is” and gave it the kind of voice and message that no one else could. The song was given a new life in hip hop with his insight that called us to think about society. He took what Hornsby created and re-purposed it for the better.

Come as You are by Nirvana-Song Sampled: “Eighties” by Killing Joke

Nirvana, icons and faces of the 90s, sampled a song called “Eighties” for their hit “Come as You Are”. Nirvana pulled the song out of a decade and gave the sound new meaning in the world of 90s grunge music. Two decades that seem in direct contrast, now share a musical makeup.

Take Care by Drake- Song Sampled: Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX “I’ll Take Care of You”

If you enjoy “Take Care” by Drake, you’ll enjoy the song it was sampled from. The Gil Scott-Heron original is similar, even when they sit in different genres. The lyrics might be a bit different, but Drake opens up the musical space for Scott-Heron by sampling his song, and Scott-Heron does the same for Drake. It’s a song that can creep over genres and exist in multiple lives.

Adam’s Song by Blink 182-Song Sampled: “Come As You Are” by Nirvana

Blink 182 briefly sampled the lyrics of “Come As You Are” in their song about suicide. It’s short and quick but if you pick up on it, you’ll understand the impact Nirvana had, and of course the end of Kurt Cobain’s life by his own hands. It’s a smart add that shows us that music ripples through culture way outside of the headphones.

Bound 2 Kanye West-Song sampled: Ponderosa Twins Plus one “Bound”

I didn’t post this just to make you watch to video, I promise. It’s a song sampled with a video mashup of strange American obsessions like eagles, wild horses, motorcycles, and Kim Kardashian.