Unexpected samples in Hip-Hop

Probably the weirdest sample I can think of is Nelly’s “Hot in Here”, which samples, of all things, Neil Young’s “There’s a World.” What the hell is Nelly doing listening to Neil Young?

Chime in, guys.

I still think Gwen Stafani’s use of that yodeling song from The Sound of Music was beyond weird.

Does that count?

“Gimme Some More” by Busta Rhymes has that creepy music at the beginning which according to wiki is from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, but it was actually taken from Citizen Kane if I’m not mistaken, though the music for both movies is by Bernard Herrmann.

Going way back, the the foundation of the song “Similac Child” by Black Sheep is a loop of angrily barking dogs. It sounds weird, but it works, man does it ever work. What a great song.

There’s a famous classical excerpt 3 minutes 2 seconds into the UK version of A Tribe Called Quest’s Can I Kick It?. I think it’s Verdi, but I’m not sure.

I’d upload an mp3 (on a strictly temporary basis) but I’m not sure what the rules are around that.

Ah, never mind, got it. Prokofiev, “Romeo & Juliet”, Op. 64, “Montagues & Capulets (Dance of the Knights)”.

There’s a Fugees song that samples “Boadicea” By Enya, off her soundtrack album for The Celts.

the Grey album, theres a track with a Madona sample, Rocky Racoon (beatles) the track is “Justify my thug”

I have been listening to a ton of Dan the Automator lately the man has some seriously obscure samples, lots of classical but a ton of stuff I have no idea where it came from.

Just recently, Kanye West’s new song “Stronger” samples from Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. I thought it was weird at first, but it works.

Didn’t some hip-hop song lift music from the Inspector Gadget theme?

Not Hip-Hop, but Whats on Your Mind - Pure Energy has a sample of Spock say that famous line…

Blackalicious lifting Harry Nilsson’s “Me and my arrow,” from The Point, for “Blazing Arrow.”

Jay Dee using Raymond Scott’s jingle for “lightworks” on his last record.

And the original “weird sample that shouldn’t work but does” - A Tribe Called Quest using Rotary Connection’s (the psychedelic soul band that “loving you” Minnie Ripperton fronted in the sixties) “Memory Band” for “Bonita Applebaum.”

I think it would have to be “It’s A Hard-Knock Life” from Annie, sampled by Jay-Z, of course.

Also, “Wooden Horse” by Craig Mack samples “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra.

This is not well-known, but a British hip-hop group called Liquid Fluid Productions (L.F.P) surprisingly sampled the 1986 Happy Rhodes song “The Wretches Gone Awry” in their song “Stroll On.” Though it may not be as weird as some mentioned, it’s pretty weird, but I personally think it works beautifully, especially lyrically. I like that it’s a positive rap song about just trying to make it in the world when the odds are bad.

The song can be listened to here, if anyone’s interested (streaming audio, not an mp3). I especially like how they used her voice as a beat during the rap parts.

He also sampled “Anything” from Oliver! in his song,which was also called “Anything.”

G-Unit (50 cents old band) used a sample from Klaatu! (remember Calling Occupants?) I thought the break at 2 minutes yielded a better bassline, but I guess that’s why I don’t get no respect…

At the time, most of the identifiable samples from the Beastie Boy’s Pauls Boutique would qualify. But since the “gritty 70s” image became part of their identity it no longer seems weird.

Strange-at-the-time samples:
Ballroom Blitz
Those Shoes
Folsom Prison Blues

and probably many others I can’t think of.

Yeah, but I’d at least expect Nelly to have heard of Neil Young. What’s weirder to me is when someone samples a song from an obscure artist who plays a totally different kind of music. I mean, how many people in the U.S. knew who Dido was when Eminem sampled her song “Thank You” for his hit single “Stan” in 2000. “Thank You” of course become a hit too when it was released as a single, but that was a year later.

raises hand I’d seen her perform at a club called the Double Door in Chicago long before the Eminem song came out. As far as I know it was her first tour of the US. The club was packed, sold out, I think. She took time after the show to meet people and sign autographs. I got to meet her and talk to her and I thought she was nice. Her tour after that one probably took place after the Eminem song came out, and she played a much larger venue, the Vic Theater. That first time is the only time I’ve seen her live.

There are a lot of artists who are obscure to the general public but who people who stay aware know about (well, with notable exceptions). Dido was causing a huge buzz in England right from the start, with the release of her first album, and that’s how Eminem heard of her to decide to use her song.

I know what you mean, but Dido doesn’t fit in that category. Being obscure to you, and to the general public, doesn’t equal being obscure at all. Look at Happy Rhodes, she’s been making music for over 20 years, has 11 albums, has one of the oldest mailing lists on the internet, has a worldwide underground cult following. Have you ever heard of her? I’d kinda doubt it unless it came from me blathering. There are tons of artist FAR more well-known than her that you and/or the general public have never heard of and would be clueless about if the name were mentioned (say, Kate Bush, or Jane Siberry, or Eddi Reader).

Yup: Slick Rick’s The Show.

I loved the first couple of De La Soul albums - they sampled just about everything. Eye know had a great sample from Otis Redding’s Sittin’ on the dock of the bay . There is a list of samples De La used here - many of them quite strange, but they worked!

And thanks Stolichnaya - I had completely forgotten Black Sheep. Great first album.