Sampled Soul

Following on from the article about Clyde Stubblefield here’s a brief look at the sampling of soul records in Hip Hop.

Soul music has influenced hip hop more than any other genre. The political message of acts such as Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Gil Scott Heron has been channelled by the likes of Public Enemy, Dead Prez, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, whilst labels such as Motown and Stax in the 60’s and 70’s was inspiration to young black Americans, they’d shaken off the shackles of oppression and done things on their own terms.

It has also been a huge influence musically. Early Hip-Hop records by the likes of The Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five were based around samples from contemporary soul and disco records, and this has continued to this day. Exponents of sampling such as DJ Premier, Kanye West and RZA have raided the records their parents and grandparents played as they were growing up and produced some of the best records of the last 25 years by incorporating soul samples into their beats. In turn this has turned on a new generation of fans on to some well known and some not so well known classic soul artists of the past.

Here are some great records and the soul songs that inspired them.

Capone-n-Noreaga – Invincible. Prouduced by DJ Premier this is one of the most celebrated beats in Hip-Hop history. The sample comes from sixties soul combo Jimmy and Vella – Hey Boy Over There.


Dilated Peoples – Worst Comes to Worst.  This track was produced for the LA group by Alchemist. William Bell’s – I Forgot To Be Your Lover has also been used in a track by Atlanta rapper Ludacris.


Wu Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M. One of the most celebrated tracks from one of the most celebrated Hip-Hop albums of all time, the sample used in RZA beat is from a soul record produced by Isaac Hayes. The Charmels – As Long as I’ve Got You


Talib Kweli – Guerrilla Monsoon Rap. Perhaps the only rap record named after a WWF commentator, this cut from Kweli’s 2002’s album Quality was produced by Kanye West before he became a global superstar the sample comes from The Chi-Lites – I’ve Never Had It So Good (And Felt So Bad). The Chi-Lites were also famously sampled for Beyonce’s Crazy In Love.


Mos Def – Ms Fat Booty. Whilst some tracks sample more rare soul records, this single taken from Mos Def’s most celebrated album Black on Both Sides, this Ayatollah produced beat samples a soul legend, lifting vocals from Aretha Franklin – One Step Ahead.


By Callum West



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