25 Influential Hip Hop Samples

Beats behind "Work It," "Straight Outta Compton" and more.

Twenty-five Influential Hip Hop Samples - Rap has been criticized for sampling, i.e. looping, chopping and manipulating snippets of other songs to make something new. But rather than disrespect its source material, sampling frequently brings older artists, often forgotten or underrated, some much-needed attention and income. In many ways, hip hop's use of sampling helps promote music history ? particularly Black music history. So, in honor of Black History Month, we're taking a look at hip hop's greatest, most influential, most used samples.?Alex Gale(Photos from left: Polydor Records,Ruthless Records)

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Twenty-five Influential Hip Hop Samples - Rap has been criticized for sampling, i.e. looping, chopping and manipulating snippets of other songs to make something new. But rather than disrespect its source material, sampling frequently brings older artists, often forgotten or underrated, some much-needed attention and income. In many ways, hip hop's use of sampling helps promote music history — particularly Black music history. So, in honor of Black History Month, we're taking a look at hip hop's greatest, most influential, most used samples.—Alex Gale(Photos from left: Polydor Records,Ruthless Records)

The Incredible Bongo Band, 'Apache' - The New York Times quoted DJ Kool Herc calling this song "the national anthem of hip hop," and who are we to disagree with the genre's godfather? One of the earliest B-boy breaks, the percussion-filled song from the 1972 album Bongo Rock has been sampled by Nas ("Made You Look"), Missy Elliott ("We Run This") and several key old-school hits.  (Photo: Pride Records)

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The Incredible Bongo Band, 'Apache' - The New York Times quoted DJ Kool Herc calling this song "the national anthem of hip hop," and who are we to disagree with the genre's godfather? One of the earliest B-boy breaks, the percussion-filled song from the 1972 album Bongo Rock has been sampled by Nas ("Made You Look"), Missy Elliott ("We Run This") and several key old-school hits. (Photo: Pride Records)

Skulls Snaps, 'It's a New Day' - The opening bars of this song from funk group Skull Snaps' self-titled 1974 album provided hard-as-nails drums for Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By," Gang Starr's "Take It Personal," Diamond D's "Sally Got a One-Track Mind" and other unforgettable rap breakthroughs.  (Photo: Charley Records)

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Skulls Snaps, 'It's a New Day' - The opening bars of this song from funk group Skull Snaps' self-titled 1974 album provided hard-as-nails drums for Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By," Gang Starr's "Take It Personal," Diamond D's "Sally Got a One-Track Mind" and other unforgettable rap breakthroughs. (Photo: Charley Records)

The Winstons, 'Amen, Brother' - Famously known as the "Amen break," this instantly recognizable beat formed the backbone of N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton," Mantronix's "King of the Beats" and many other rap hits. It also later became a vital building block for jungle and drum-and-bass.  (Photo: Metromedia Records)

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The Winstons, 'Amen, Brother' - Famously known as the "Amen break," this instantly recognizable beat formed the backbone of N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton," Mantronix's "King of the Beats" and many other rap hits. It also later became a vital building block for jungle and drum-and-bass. (Photo: Metromedia Records)

Melvin Bliss, 'Synthetic Substitution' - The kick-heavy break that starts this 1973 track will be all too familiar to anyone who's heard Ultramagnetic MCs' "Ego Trippin'," Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P." or Wu-Tang Clan's "Bring Da Ruckus."  (Photo: Peripheral Enterprises)

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Melvin Bliss, 'Synthetic Substitution' - The kick-heavy break that starts this 1973 track will be all too familiar to anyone who's heard Ultramagnetic MCs' "Ego Trippin'," Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P." or Wu-Tang Clan's "Bring Da Ruckus." (Photo: Peripheral Enterprises)

James Brown, 'Funky Drummer' - One of the most sampled breaks of all time, it's hard for any self-respecting hip hop head to hear the heavily compressed drums that flow throughout this James Brown signature without thinking of Public Enemy ("Bring the Noise," "Rebel Without a Pause"), Boogie Down Productions ("South Bronx"), LL Cool J ("Mama Said Knock You Out") and other unforgettable rap moments.  (Photo: Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)

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James Brown, 'Funky Drummer' - One of the most sampled breaks of all time, it's hard for any self-respecting hip hop head to hear the heavily compressed drums that flow throughout this James Brown signature without thinking of Public Enemy ("Bring the Noise," "Rebel Without a Pause"), Boogie Down Productions ("South Bronx"), LL Cool J ("Mama Said Knock You Out") and other unforgettable rap moments. (Photo: Matthew Simmons/Getty Images)

Babe Ruth, 'The Mexican' - Another bona-fide break-dance classic, this slept-on 1972 rock song has fueled countless B-boy battles in between being sampled by Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee and several other rap titans.  (Photo: Harvest Records)

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Babe Ruth, 'The Mexican' - Another bona-fide break-dance classic, this slept-on 1972 rock song has fueled countless B-boy battles in between being sampled by Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee and several other rap titans. (Photo: Harvest Records)

Cymande, 'Bra' - The bass breakdown in the middle of this 1972 groove was an early B-boy staple, looped live by DJ Kool Herc and others in hip hop's early days. Its opening notes were also lifted by De La Soul for their 1988 "Change in Speak."   (Photo: Janus Records)

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Cymande, 'Bra' - The bass breakdown in the middle of this 1972 groove was an early B-boy staple, looped live by DJ Kool Herc and others in hip hop's early days. Its opening notes were also lifted by De La Soul for their 1988 "Change in Speak." (Photo: Janus Records)

The Headhunters, featuring the Pointer Sisters, 'God Made Me Funky' - The head-nodding drum groove that sets off this 1975 jam has been jacked by the Roots, De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, Eric B. and Rakim and several other legendary rappers.  (Photo: Arista)

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The Headhunters, featuring the Pointer Sisters, 'God Made Me Funky' - The head-nodding drum groove that sets off this 1975 jam has been jacked by the Roots, De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, Eric B. and Rakim and several other legendary rappers. (Photo: Arista)

Ohio Players, 'Funky Worm' - The Moog synthesizer whine a minute into this 1973 hit from the Ohio Players (R.I.P. Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner) was a vital building block to West Coast hip hop, lending its winding funk to N.W.A,'s "Gangsta Gangsta" and "Dopeman," Snoop Dogg's "Serial Killa" and Ice Cube's "Wicked."  (Photo: Westbound Records)

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Ohio Players, 'Funky Worm' - The Moog synthesizer whine a minute into this 1973 hit from the Ohio Players (R.I.P. Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner) was a vital building block to West Coast hip hop, lending its winding funk to N.W.A,'s "Gangsta Gangsta" and "Dopeman," Snoop Dogg's "Serial Killa" and Ice Cube's "Wicked."  (Photo: Westbound Records)

James Brown, 'Funky President (It's Bad)' - The drums and funky wah-pedal work on this song from J.B.'s 1974 album, Reality, are another favorite of rap beat makers, fueling key rap hits including Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," N.W.A's "F** the Police" and more.  (Photo: Polydor)

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James Brown, 'Funky President (It's Bad)' - The drums and funky wah-pedal work on this song from J.B.'s 1974 album, Reality, are another favorite of rap beat makers, fueling key rap hits including Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," N.W.A's "F** the Police" and more. (Photo: Polydor)

Manzel, 'Midnight Theme' - The hi-hat heavy drum break that sets off this obscure 1979 song will be instantly recognizable to anyone who's heard Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man" or De La Soul's "Plug Tunin'" ? just two of the timeless rap songs that have sampled it.  (Photo: Fraternity Records)

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Manzel, 'Midnight Theme' - The hi-hat heavy drum break that sets off this obscure 1979 song will be instantly recognizable to anyone who's heard Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man" or De La Soul's "Plug Tunin'" — just two of the timeless rap songs that have sampled it. (Photo: Fraternity Records)

The Honey Drippers, 'Impeach the President' - Arguably the best kick and snare ever laid to wax, the opening drum salvo to this 1973 soul banger has become a boom-bap go-to, chopped up on countless rap classics including Notorious B.I.G's "Unbelievable," Audio Two's "Top Billin'" and Nas's "I Can." (Photo: Atlantic Records)

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The Honey Drippers, 'Impeach the President' - Arguably the best kick and snare ever laid to wax, the opening drum salvo to this 1973 soul banger has become a boom-bap go-to, chopped up on countless rap classics including Notorious B.I.G's "Unbelievable," Audio Two's "Top Billin'" and Nas's "I Can." (Photo: Atlantic Records)

Donny Hathaway, 'Magnificent Sanctuary Band' - The rumbling drum break at the top of this 1971 song, one of Donnie's funkiest, has been lifted by Diamond D, Action Bronson, the Beastie Boys and many others.  (Photo: Atlantic Records)

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Donny Hathaway, 'Magnificent Sanctuary Band' - The rumbling drum break at the top of this 1971 song, one of Donnie's funkiest, has been lifted by Diamond D, Action Bronson, the Beastie Boys and many others. (Photo: Atlantic Records)

The Soul Searchers, 'Ashley?s Roachclip' - The drum break three-and-a-half minutes into this 1974 instrumental was first popularized by Eric B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full," after which it became one of the most widely used samples of the late '80s and '90s, including in far-flung pop hits like "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" by P.M. Dawn, "Unbelievable" by EMF and Duran Duran's "Come Undone."    (Photo: Sussex Records)

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The Soul Searchers, 'Ashley’s Roachclip' - The drum break three-and-a-half minutes into this 1974 instrumental was first popularized by Eric B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full," after which it became one of the most widely used samples of the late '80s and '90s, including in far-flung pop hits like "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" by P.M. Dawn, "Unbelievable" by EMF and Duran Duran's "Come Undone."   (Photo: Sussex Records)

Joe Tex, 'Papa Was Too' - The sparse, muscular drum and piano intro to this hard Joe Tex groove was famously jacked by EPMD for their "Jane" series, as well as bangers by Gang Starr, N.W.A. and others.  (Photo: Atlantic Records)

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Joe Tex, 'Papa Was Too' - The sparse, muscular drum and piano intro to this hard Joe Tex groove was famously jacked by EPMD for their "Jane" series, as well as bangers by Gang Starr, N.W.A. and others. (Photo: Atlantic Records)

Lafayette Afro Rock Band, 'Hihache' - The tight drumbeat that opens this heater from French funk troupe Lafayette Afro Rock Band is a quintessential rap break beat sampled by Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, the Wu-Tang Clan and, perhaps most notably, Biz Markie's "Nobody Beats the Biz."  (Photo: Superclasse) 

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Lafayette Afro Rock Band, 'Hihache' - The tight drumbeat that opens this heater from French funk troupe Lafayette Afro Rock Band is a quintessential rap break beat sampled by Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, the Wu-Tang Clan and, perhaps most notably, Biz Markie's "Nobody Beats the Biz." (Photo: Superclasse) 

Billy Squier, 'The Big Beat' - The earth-quaking drums at the beginning of this appropriately named 1980 rock smash kept time in Jay Z's "99 Problems," UTFO's landmark "Roxanne, Roxanne" and several other old-school and new-school classics.  (Photo: Capital Records)

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Billy Squier, 'The Big Beat' - The earth-quaking drums at the beginning of this appropriately named 1980 rock smash kept time in Jay Z's "99 Problems," UTFO's landmark "Roxanne, Roxanne" and several other old-school and new-school classics. (Photo: Capital Records)

The Isley Brothers, 'Footsteps in the Dark' - This classic 1977 slow jam from the Brothers Isley formed the foundation for Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day" and provided banging drums for J Dilla's swan-song single "Won't Do." Alicia Keys, Usher, Redman and many others have followed suit.  (Photo: Motown)

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The Isley Brothers, 'Footsteps in the Dark' - This classic 1977 slow jam from the Brothers Isley formed the foundation for Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day" and provided banging drums for J Dilla's swan-song single "Won't Do." Alicia Keys, Usher, Redman and many others have followed suit. (Photo: Motown)

Al Green, 'I'm Glad You're Mine' - The rim-shot break and lush strings from this beautiful Al Green song have been jacked for numerous hip hop classics, from MC Lyte's "Paper Thin" to Eric B. and Rakim's "Mahogany" to the Notorious B.I.G.'s "I Got a Story to Tell."   (Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

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Al Green, 'I'm Glad You're Mine' - The rim-shot break and lush strings from this beautiful Al Green song have been jacked for numerous hip hop classics, from MC Lyte's "Paper Thin" to Eric B. and Rakim's "Mahogany" to the Notorious B.I.G.'s "I Got a Story to Tell."  (Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Minnie Riperton, 'Inside My Love'  - The gorgeous Rhodes-driven coda to Minnie's 1975 classic was first resurrected by A Tribe Called Quest for their "Lyrics to Go," and then was flipped by J. Dilla and many others.  (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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Minnie Riperton, 'Inside My Love' - The gorgeous Rhodes-driven coda to Minnie's 1975 classic was first resurrected by A Tribe Called Quest for their "Lyrics to Go," and then was flipped by J. Dilla and many others.  (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Sly & the Family Stone - Funk-soul band Sly & the Family Stone, centered around siblings Sly, Freddie and Rose Stone, dissolved in the mid-'70s due to internal disagreements and drug use. Freddie even went on to play guitar for Graham Central Station, the funk band fronted by Larry Graham, the former Family Stone bassist who brawled with Sly over rumors that Larry hired a hitman to kill him.  (Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images)

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Sly and the Family Stone, 'Sing a Simple Song' - This 1968 signature song from Sly and the Family Stone hits rap immortality at 2:12, when a funky drum and horn break that provided fodder for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "Deep Cover," Public Enemy's "Party for Your Right to Fight" and several other timeless rap classics drops. (Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Bob James, 'Nautilius' - This banger from Bob James's 1974 One is the gift that keeps on giving, with different parts sampled for "Beats to the Rhyme" by Run-DMC, "409" by Ice-T, "Follow the Leader" and "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" by Eric B. and Rakim, "Sun Won't Come Out" by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, "Clap Your Hands" by A Tribe Called Quest, "Daytona 500" by Ghostface Killah, "Around My Way" by Lupe Fiasco and many more.(Photo: Warner Bros. Records)

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Bob James, 'Nautilius' - This banger from Bob James's 1974 One is the gift that keeps on giving, with different parts sampled for "Beats to the Rhyme" by Run-DMC, "409" by Ice-T, "Follow the Leader" and "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" by Eric B. and Rakim, "Sun Won't Come Out" by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, "Clap Your Hands" by A Tribe Called Quest, "Daytona 500" by Ghostface Killah, "Around My Way" by Lupe Fiasco and many more.(Photo: Warner Bros. Records)

Legend Award Honorees: Kool and the Gang -

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Kool and the Gang, 'N.T.' - The drum break at five-and-a-half minutes into this 1971 Kool and Gang funky joint, recorded live at a local club, is a rap staple, sampled by Nas's "It Ain't Hard to Tell," Q-Tip's "Breathe and Stop," N.W.A.'s "Gangsta, Gangsta" and dozens of other songs.  (Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns)

Bob James, 'Mardi Gras' - The bell-laden intro to jazz great Bob James's 1975 "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" has been used in several rap classics, including Crash Crew's "Breaking Bells (Take Me to the Mardi Gras)," LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells," the Beastie Boys' "Hold It Now, Hit It," Missy Elliott's "Work It," will.i.am's "I Got It From My Mama," Common's "I Want You," Wu-Tang Clan's "Take It Back" and most notably Run-DMC's "Peter Piper."  (Photo: Warner Bros. Records)

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Bob James, 'Mardi Gras' - The bell-laden intro to jazz great Bob James's 1975 "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" has been used in several rap classics, including Crash Crew's "Breaking Bells (Take Me to the Mardi Gras)," LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells," the Beastie Boys' "Hold It Now, Hit It," Missy Elliott's "Work It," will.i.am's "I Got It From My Mama," Common's "I Want You," Wu-Tang Clan's "Take It Back" and most notably Run-DMC's "Peter Piper." (Photo: Warner Bros. Records)

George Clinton, 'Atomic Dog' - Bow-wow-wow-yippy-yo-yippy-yay: This 1982 funk classic was the P-Funk crew's last R&B chart No. 1, but it's been immortalized through dozens of rap songs, including Tupac's "Holler If You Hear Me" and, of course, Snoop Dogg's "Who Am I? (What's My Name)."    (Photo: Capital Records)

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George Clinton, 'Atomic Dog' - Bow-wow-wow-yippy-yo-yippy-yay: This 1982 funk classic was the P-Funk crew's last R&B chart No. 1, but it's been immortalized through dozens of rap songs, including Tupac's "Holler If You Hear Me" and, of course, Snoop Dogg's "Who Am I? (What's My Name)."   (Photo: Capital Records)