Happy Freakin Birthday to Kanye Omari West aka The Louis Vuitton Don. Here are 10 Underrated Kanye West Samples for the masses. People seem to either love or hate him. One thing for certain is that the man has been blessing this planet for almost 20 years with soulful, intelligent production and lyrics that offer more than the typical hip hop starter kit.
This is not the place for us to list his accomplishments, albums, and accolades. Just do a google search or find his Wikipedia page. There will be a plethora of information for your reading pleasure. For his birthday, we are going to examine the DNA of some of greatest musical accomplishments. Kanye is certainly a beast on the mic, but also creates musical magic. Kanye gets a lot of his inspiration for his production through sampling from diverse genres of music. Now many of us are familiar with his use of samples in some of his biggest songs: Through the Wire, Stronger and Gold Digger. But this man has put together such an enormous catalog for us to enjoy. There are songs that we don’t know were sampled, or tracks we didn’t even know Kanye had anything to do with. So lets take a musical adventure through the different genres to check out some of the eclectic bands and their tracks he sampled.
10 Underrated Kanye West Samples.
1. Made Men “Just U And I”
Lets start this ride in the 90’s. Ahhhhh, I loved the 90’s everything, including the music. The Almighty RSO was a pretty popular Boston group in the late 80s and early 90’s. They gained notoriety during this time for the explosive track “One In the Chamber”. They eventually disbanded and ‘The Made Men’ rose from their ashes with Benzino as the lead in both. They are often forgotten when talking about Hip Hop groups in the 90’s. They released only 1 album, but it had some bangers. “Just U and I” was a single produced by a young Yeezy. He sampled a Funk Band from the 70s….The Counts. Groups from that time always had “The” in front of their names.
“Since We Said Goodbye” 1974; The Counts on Funk Pump album
“Just U and I” 1999; Made Men on Classic Limited Edition album
2. Beanie Sigel “The Truth“
Another early production duty for Kanye came during the Roc A Fella domination era. He was able to sample a rather happy song by folk singer, Graham Nash and turned it into something sinister for Beanie Sigel’s lyrical threats.
“Chicago” 1971; Graham Nash on Song For Beginners album
“The Truth” 2000; Beanie Sigel on The Truth album
3. Jay-Z “The Takeover“
Yes, Kanye West was responsible for one of the most hellacious diss songs in history. He went back to a time when classic rock ruled the land and sampled one of the greatest Rock Bands of All Time, The Doors. The result was a scathing diss which would provoke the greatest lyricist on the planet to reply.
“Five to One” 1968; The Doors on Waiting For The Sun album
“The Takeover” 2001; Jay-Z on Blueprint album
4. Kanye West ft Jay-Z “Never Get You Down“
‘Never Get You Down’ is one of my favorite Kanye West creations. It’s also the first entry on the list where he rhymes as well as control the boards. Kanye discusses poverty, racism, and even touches on his near fatal accident. The music is also something special. Perhaps you heard of one Michael Bolton. He started off his career in a late 70’s, early 80’s band called BlackJack. Kanye was able to effectively sample this rock song and was a perfect soundtrack to the subject matter. The song also included a solid Jay Z first and spoken word in the middle. This song is on my top 20 songs ever.
“Maybe It’s the Power of Love” 1980; Blackjack on Worlds Apart album
“Never Get You Down” 2004; Kanye West feat Jay-Z on College Dropout album
5. Scarface ft Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel “Guess Who’s Back“
The Originals were a soul group in the 60’s that did a lot of back up singing for artists that were household names. You may have heard of Marvin Gaye. He was one of them. The Originals released a beautiful tune called Sunrise. It sounds like something that I would to listen to while on a picnic with a pretty girl named Reverie, enjoying Sonoma Chicken Salad on a croissant while drinking spritzers.
Kanye West took bits and pieces of this summer time classic and created the music for ‘Guess Who’s Back’ on Scarface’s brilliant ‘The Fix’ album. Jay, Face and Beans all drop memorable verses.
“Sunrise” 1977; The Originals on Down To Love Town album
“Guess Whos Back” 2002; Scarface feat. Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel on The Fix album
6. Mos Def “Brown Sugar“
Movie soundtracks always seem to deliver some classic music. Brown Sugar was no different. The standout track here was Mos Def’s song of the same name – Brown Sugar. There were 2 versions released (Extra Sweet & Raw), but this Kanye West produced gem was something unique. Kanye treated us to a Norman Connors special. Connors is basically a composer of music (think Quincy Jones) who invited popular artists to perform over his creations. He drafted the angelic Miss Adaritha for vocals over the smooth groove of Invitation. Kanye sampled this timelessly beautiful song for Mos Def’s Brown Sugar and the outcome was pure musical bliss.
“Invitation” 1979; Norman Connors on Invitation album
“Brown Sugar, Fine” 2002 ; Mos Def on Brown Sugar Soundtrack
7. Cam’Ron “Dipset Forever“
Dipset Dipset!!!!! The music they put out in the early 2000’s is one of my favorite periods of music. Cam, Juelz, Jim and the rest of The Diplomats had some soulful gangsta music. A lot of their Harlem bravado consisted of sped up soul samples….known at the time as Chipmunk Soul. Kanye and The Heatmakers were responsible for a majority of their music. Kanye laced this Cam’ron banger with the classic soul sounds of Chuck Cissel. The end result was beautiful. At some point, I need to do a list of my favorite Dipset samples.
“Forever” 2004; Chuck Cissel on Just For You album
“Dipset Forever” 2004; Cam’Ron on Purple Haze album
8. Kanye West “Good Morning“
Sir Elton John’s ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ has to be one of the greatest songs of all time. With the song, he shares with the world his battle with suicide. The song pays homage to a friend who talked him out of it. The piano chords, the vocals, and everything else just jettison this song into the stratosphere. Kanye sampled Elton John’s vocal harmony and used it on his 3rd album opener, Good Morning.
“Someone Saved My Life Tonight ” 1975; Elton John on Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy album
“Good Morning” 2007; Kanye West on Graduation album
9. Common “Break My Heart“
I was raised in a primarily Jazz household. This next sample is something close to my heart. I used to watch my parents dance to George Duke’s ‘Someday’. I always thought this was a beautiful song, so when I first heard Common’s ‘Break My Heart’, I got hella excited and knew exactly where it originated from. No research necessary. Common crafted a dope story about a rather interesting and complex relationship and the George Duke sample accentuated the tale.
“Someday” 1975; George Duke on I Love the Blues, She Heard Me Cry album
“Break My Heart” 2007; Common on Finding Forever album
10. Lil Wayne “Let The Beat Build“
There are plenty times where Kanye will just take a small piece of an original song, and create something new. This is exactly what he did with Eddie Kendrick’s ‘Day by Day’. The first part of the song featured some of his crooning. Kanye took that, looped it along with some other produced stuff and created Wayne’s ‘Let The Beat Build’. One of my favorite samples ever. Love or Hate Wayne, you will bob your head to Kanyes creation. Mission accomplished.
“Day by Day” 1972; Eddie Kendricks on People…Hold On album
“Let the Beat Build” 2008; Lil Wayne on The Carter III album
Some of the sampled songs are just as good as Kanye’s creations. Now I have Elton John, Nas, Blackjack and Redman on my playlist.
What are some of your favorite Kanye West Samples?