By Charlotte Freccia ’19
Inspired by this insightful WKCO playlist that traced the use of I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles through decades of sampling in hip-hop and rap, I decided to take a look at the ingenious use of sampling in the discography of Kanye West. In eight masterful albums, Kanye has managed to sample from just about every genre and era of music in distinctive and original ways: what other twenty-first century artist could sample from Laura Nyro, Can, Public Enemy, and Michael Jackson, all in one sonically and thematically cohesive record? His use of sampling has become one of the enigmatic, protean artist’s only true signatures. Here, I look at the most effective and surprising use of sampling in each of Kanye’s full-length releases. As Rick Ross once warned/promised in his intro to Kanye’s legendary track “Monster:” “as you run through my jungles, all you hear is rumbles/Kanye West samples, here’s one for example…”
“A House Is Not A Home” by Luther Vandross; sampled in “Slow Jamz” from The College Dropout.
“I Got A Woman” by Ray Charles; sampled in “Gold Digger” from Late Registration.
“Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan; sampled in “Champion” from Graduation.
“Memories Fade” by Tears For Fears; sampled in “Coldest Winter” from 808s & Heartbreak.
“Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding; sampled in “Otis” from Watch the Throne.
“Woods” by Bon Iver; sampled in “Lost in the World” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
“Strange Fruit” by Nina Simone; sampled in “Blood on the Leaves” from Yeezus.
“Panda” by Desiigner; sampled in “Father Stretch My Hands Part 2” from The Life Of Pablo.