Picture yourself walking along, or sitting, or standing, or whatever really, but you’re listening to music – that’s the important part. A track comes on, and there’s a particular section that sounds familiar to you, a particular sample, but you can’t quite put your finger on where it’s from. Or alternatively, you’re listening to a track and you don’t know the sample, but you love it, you want to find it, but you don’t know how. Frustrating, right? Well, have we got some good news for you.
Youtuber Donutsample (of J Dilla‘s Donuts) has over the last three months been meticulously analysing some of the biggest releases of the past few years, as well as some older favourites, so that you don’t have to. Whether it’s singles or albums, each of their videos compares both the original and the way it’s been more recently used. It’s not only great for looking into more classic tracks and expanding your music knowledge, but also adds another level to each piece of music. Why has an artist chosen to include that particular sample? What stories and meaning lay behind their choices? What’s the most obscure sample any of the musicians has used? Hip-hop has traditionally been the genre to sample, and it’s interesting to see how the art has evolved across a number of other genres too. It’s a rabbit hole you won’t regret falling down.
While licensing issues have definitely made it more difficult to utilise sampling in the creation of new music, Donutsample’s videos not only inform, but demonstrate perfectly the art of proper sampling.
The videos run through some of the best albums of the last few years and beyond, including
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Black Star, Black Star
A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory