Sampling (Music): A Way to Reimagine Songs


DJ allnaturel


The highlight of my middle school days were flipping through channels in the 900s range on Cox Cable. I would spend countless hours listening to music on the Music Choice channels. The service accompanied an endless range of genres from Rock to Soul, and with it, I was constantly immersed in new hit sounds. 

On a particular day in 2014, Annie Lennox No More “I Love You’s” was playing on the EDM Music Choice channel. The vocal similarity between Lennox’s No More “I Love You’s”, and Nicki Minaj’s “Your Love” (one of my favorite songs at the time) immediately sparked my curiosity. The similarity was the effect of sampling. At the time, I didn’t know what sampling was, but it completely opened me up to a whole new world.

Music sampling is when a piece of an original record is reused in another record.  This includes but is not limited to, song structure, melodies, drum beats, and vocals. The term sampling came from the creators of the Fairlight CMI synthesizer. The advancement of today’s technology has made sampling easier and continues to be a prevalent technique in today’s music industry.

Over the years, I’ve noticed certain sound patterns in these reimagined songs. These sounds came from the 70s/80s funk era. Through this discovery, I found a deep appreciation for this era of music. The groovy melodies and the uptempo beats have made these eras my favorite. Current artists using the sampling process have allowed me to stumble upon songs way before my time, but I have created connections with these original songs.

Sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel, and there is a lot of creativity that comes with reimagining songs. Whole new experiences and relationships to songs can be created by adding and/or removing elements. The most important part of sampling to me is paying homage to previous generations. 


Black musicians from the 70s/80s funk era who have been sampled across genres:


The Song: Pinkpantheress – I must apologise (2021)

The Sample: Bobby Byrd – Hot Pants (1987)



The Song: Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (2001)

The Sample: Edwin Birdsong – Cola Bottle Baby (1979)


The Song: Ariana Grande – The Way (2013)

The Sample: Brenda Russell – A Little Bit of Love (1979)


The Song: The Weeknd – Sacrifice (2022)

The Sample: Alicia Myers – I Want to Thank You (1981)


The Song: DJ Snake – You Are My High (2021)

The Sample: The Gap Band – You Are My High (1979)