The 10 Best Songs Used As Samples

Hopefully the 10 best covers & 10 best remixes lists have given you something to talk about. Now let’s pick the 10 best songs to provide samples for other songs..

(DJ Kool sampling Marlena Shaw, Unwind Yourself)

  1. Minnie Ripperton – Inside My Love (sampled by A Tribe Called Quest): A beautiful song with filthy lyrics, the organ break has been sampled many times, and never sounds bad.
  2. Marva Whitney – Unwind Yourself (sampled by DJ Kool): Produced by James Brown, with a wailing horn intro and pounding drum used by everyone and their dog over the years. DJ Kool and Chad Jackson‘s uses are the most memorable.
  3. James Brown – Blind Man Can See It (sampled by Blackstreet): The Godfather of Soul has been sampled so much that it could really be a top 10 of just his tracks. This is one of his less well known, but it’s a real sultry number that was used to great effect on No Diggity.
  4. Kool & The Gang – Summer Madness (sampled by Jazzy Jeff): This song oozes summer, and so does the Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince track that sampled it very heavily.
  5. Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up (sampled by Kanye West): The ultimate 70s anthem, Kanye was beyond blatant in his sampling of this (Touch The Sky is essentially him rapping over the top of Move On Up) but they’re both such great tunes that no-one really minds.
  6. Marlena Shaw – Woman Of The Ghetto (sampled by Blue Boy): A wailing social anthem from the wonderful Shaw – sampled to make a so-so trip hop chart topper. Oh well.
  7. Bob Dorough – Three is a magic number (sampled by De La Soul): A cheery little number that has always helped me remember how to count – De La Soul took “3 is the magic number” and everyone’s happy.
  8. David McCallum – The Edge (sampled by Dr Dre): Who would have thought that the Man from UNCLE would hook up with David Axelrod (DJ Shadow’s favourite producer), make some instrumental 60s weirdness and end up providing Dre with one of his most instantly recognisable breaks?!
  9. The Mighty Ryeders – Evil Vibrations (sampled by De La Soul): Wouldn’t it be great if Saturday really was a roller-skating jam? De La Soul thought so when they sampled this fantastic bit of party funk.
  10. The Hombres – Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) [sampled by Definition of Sound): I’m sure that this was meant as a bit of comedy country-funk, but it absolutely swings. Anyone who had a passing interest in hip hop in the early 902 will recognise the fantastic guitar break.

So, that’s my (current!) top 10 songs that went on to be used as samples. As for the worst? There are so many I can’t pick, so why not let me know what you think is the worst song ever to be used as a sample.


  1. Glad that you liked it! I’m just working on the ten best songs that use samples now – prett likely that De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest will feature on that as well!

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