The depth and art of sampling isn't to be underestimated. Some of the best songs in the world have earned such a status thanks to the samples they used, or more importantly, how they were used.

Hip-Hop has often been dismissed as a credible art form due to its heavy use of sampling compared to other genres, but this argument is steeped in classism. Historically, hip-hop producers relied on samples due to the lack of 'formal' musical training and resources. This dates back to the early days of hip-hop when DJs and emcees would simply spin and rap over their parents' old records. Nowadays, you'll rarely find a producer that can't play some sort of instrument, which - given the continued popularity of sampling - goes to show just how much artistry is involved with the technique.

This isn't a definitive list of essential hip-hop samples, just a strong selection of incredible songs that have been made so due to the samples they adopted. We hope you enjoy.


  • Asha Puthli - 'I Dig Love'
  • Kano - 'Reload It'
  • Henry Franklin - 'Soft Spirit'
  • A Tribe Called Quest - 'The Hop'
  • Bobby Bland - 'If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right)'
  • Pusha T - 'Nosetalgia' ft Kendrick Lamar
  • Ann Peebles - 'I Can't Stand The Rain'
  • Missy Elliott - 'The Rain'
  • The Little Boy Blues - 'Seed of Love'
  • Jay Z - 'Public Service Announcement (Interlude)'
  • Jodeci - 'My Heart Belongs To U'
  • Drake - 'How About Now'
  • Sade - 'Kiss of Life'
  • MF DOOM - 'Doomsday'
  • Donny Hathaway - 'Jealous Guy'
  • Chance The Rapper - 'Juice'
  • Isley Brothers - 'Don't Say Goodnight'
  • J Dillar - 'So Far To Go' ft Common and D'Angelo
  • Boys II Men - 'Uhh Ahh'
  • Kendrick Lamar - 'Alright'

Check out Jesse's 'Spot the Sample' podcast by heading here.