Top 10 Pop Songs You Didn't Know Used Samples



Top 10 Pop Songs You Didn't Know Used Samples

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Script written by Owen Maxwell

Bet you didn't know that "Swish Swish ft. Nicki Minaj" (2017) by Katy Perry, "D.A.N.C.E." (2007) by Justice, "Paper Planes" (2007) by M.I.A, "The Way ft. Mac Miller" (2013) by Ariana Grande, "Crazy" (2006) by Gnarls Barkley, "Hotline Bling" (2016) by Drake, "Work" (2016) by Rihanna, and "Crazy In Love ft. Jay-Z" (2003) by Beyoncé used samples from other songs!

Top 10 Pop Songs You Didn't Know Used Samples

These artists turned sampling into an art form. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Pop Songs You Didn't Know Were Sampled.

For this list, we're looking at tracks from the world of pop that made something original out of an old song. We're basing our picks on a mix of clever reworking, seamless inclusion and how each artist adapted a track for the modern age.

#10: "Swish Swish" (2017)
Katy Perry feat. Nicki Minaj

While either video for this Katy Perry track will have you saying WTF, the song says it itself thanks to a sample of Fatboy Slim's 'Star 69.' As it happens, 'Star 69' is actually based off a sample itself, taking its own vocal hook from Roland Clark's dance track 'I Get Deep.' The catchy groove and bassline behind the Katy Perry track is a clear homage to house music it’s respective sub-genres. With Nicki Minaj featured, we also get some lines referencing 'Snow White' and Biggie's 'Juicy' in her relentless rap towards the end of the song.

#9: "D.A.N.C.E." (2007)

Using samples sparingly and subtly, the French DJ duo behind Justice managed to turn disco into electronica . The band actually pulled from an obscure sound clip record by Simon Harris, producing the weird radio static heard in the song's opening. The track's string lines were also lifted from Boney M.'s 'Sunny,' cleverly edited into separate chunks . The song even reinterprets Madonna's final verse from 'Me Against The Music,' bringing a whole new life to it with a children's choir. The French duo’s fresh spin on the melody was addictive, and also pulled some memorable lines from songs by Michael Jackson.

#8: "Paper Planes" (2007)

During her trouble with the American visa system, M.I.A. decided to pen an anthem to struggling immigrants. Much of the track speaks to the daily grind of working foreigners, while also showing how they're still considered evil by the United States. Coupled with Diplo's production, M.I.A. found a catchy sample in the opening of The Clash's 'Straight To Hell.' The Clash song itself spoke to how immigrants were being vilified in the United Kingdom, making its sampling all the more appropriate. also included gun sounds through her chorus to reflect westerner's expectations of immigrants, despite the fact that many are in fact refugees of war.

#7: "The Way" (2013)
Ariana Grande feat. Mac Miller

Ariana Grande and Mac Miller's rap-pop collaboration was already full of surprises before you consider where it was inspired from. Employing the catchy piano hook from Brenda Russell's 'A Little Bit of Love,' Ariana and Mac threw their own vocals on the track . Ariana's lines perfectly update the loving spirit of the original, feeding into the soulful delivery of Brenda Russell . Mac Miller's sultry rapping recalls Big Pun's 'Still Not a Player,' which also samples the Russell piano line. While Mac Miller's verse is certainly the dirtiest in the song, it makes for a much subtler rap than Big Pun's.

#6: "Suit & Tie" (2013)
Justin Timberlake feat. Jay Z

As Justin Timberlake was adding some class to his third record, plenty of brass and pianos were in order . Crafting tons of dreamy melodies and a slick beat, Timbaland managed to make Justin's signature dance aesthetic feel organic. Blending tones of seventies funk and soul into the song's groove, all that was missing was the horns. Speeding up the trumpet hooks from Sly, Slick and Wicked's 'Sho' Nuff,' Timberlake had a transition that let him go anywhere with the song. Jay-Z also makes his own callback before the final chorus, making a cheeky reference to his 2002 track 'Show You How.'

#5: "Crazy" (2006)
Gnarls Barkley

Next to a lot of the soul and hip hop that CeeLo and Danger Mouse put out as Gnarls Barkley, 'Crazy' always had a mysterious sound . Name-dropping Ennio Morricone, Danger Mouse said that they were heavilyinfluenced by spaghetti Westerns while writing their biggest hit. Lifting the guitars and harmonies from Italian composers Gian Franco and Gian Piero Reverberi’s 'Last Man Standing,' Gnarls Barkley had a hook that was both epic and tense. You can even hear the iconic melody throughout the film 'Django, Prepare A Coffin,' . Regardless of how much is sampled, you can't argue with the results.

#4: "Born To Die" (2011)
Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey's dreamy and psychedelic vocals have become her style, making samples that much harder to spot in her work SB [#4_Lana Del Rey - Born To Die. Close inspection of 'Born To Die' however reveals the song's warped background yells are actually from Mountain's 'Long Red.' While Mountain is primarily known for guitar riffs in hits like 'Mississippi Queen,' the unique vocal track is taken from a live recording. Shouting 'Louder' through every chorus, the genius edit amps up the energy of Lana's song without feeling out of place. While Del Rey was more interested in Mountain's vocals, everyone from Jay-Z to Kanye have sampled its beat as well .

#3: "Hotline Bling" (2016)

While Drake's dance moves made this song popular enough for parodies, the lounge beat and organ hook made it instantly iconic . The backing track had a distinct lo-fi hum to its tones, since it was actually pulling from the obscure Timmy Thomas single 'Why Can't We Live Together.'
The bossa-nova infused sample was completely out of place for pop music at the time, and it ended up being a major part of why “Hotling Bling” went on to be such a massive hit. Timmy Thomas has even offered his own praise for the sample, saying Drake had made something truly new with the song.

#2: "Work" (2016)
Rihanna feat. Drake

Booming with bass and a subtle beat, there's an intoxicating quality to the grooves of Rihanna's dance-club hit . While Rihanna's vocals establish a new melody, the bassline and lead riff are actually from a 20-year-old dancehall song called 'Sail Away (Riddim).' The sample is mixed into something a little more quiet and ambient, fitting the track's themes of inebriation perfectly. Despite the simplicity of the loop, the dynamic back-and-forth between Rihanna and Drake keeps the sound fresh throughout the song's entirety. 'Sail Away (Riddim)' itself contains an interpolation from Alexander O'Neal that is seemingly emulated on a keyboard in Rihanna's song .

#1: "Crazy In Love" (2003)
Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z

The horns in this Beyoncé track immediately stood out, begging listeners to crank up their stereos whenever it came on the radio. In your face and full of pop, few realized the chorus was actually a sample of 'Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So).' Writer Rich Harrison loved the Chi-Lites hook, but Beyoncé initially found the sound too retro. The trumpets sounded distinct on the radio in 2003, helping Beyoncé attract attention as a solo artist early on. While Beyoncé initially felt that the brass sample was too much, she has since admitted they make the song what it is.