5 Times Mainstream Musical Artists Sampled From Lesser Known Musicians

I love music! Seriously, I think it’s such an efficient language that’s not only universal, but channels any emotion, though, and feeling one person may have. No matter what the genre is, most people can agree that a good piece of music can change the attitude of almost anyone, even if for a split second.


However, one major criticism of music in today’s world is the authenticity. I mean, we need look no further than Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” fiasco to see that. And more and more artists are sampling from others, making their own pieces a little less original. And some of these artists, like Thicke, are being sued for it.

Why are they being sued? Well, mostly because they don’t obtain the permission or copyright from the original artists. But then there are some who sample and, regardless of whether or not they get permission to use it, make a hit and a ton of money on their sample. And most of these songs people don’t even realize are actually centered around samples.

What are some of these songs? I’m glad you asked. Here, let me show you.


1. Drake and Timmy Thomas


So…remember when people were making fun of Drake’s dance moves in his 2015 music video for ‘Hotline Bling’? Well, they had every right to do so because his dancing was awful. BUT did you know that ‘Hotline Bling’ is actually a sample for a song from 1972? Just take a listen "Why can't we live together" by Timmy Thomas, and see if you can hear it.


2. Justin Bieber and White Hinterland


Now, unlike Drake, Justin Bieber sampled a song from an Indie artist and is now being sued for it, along with companion Skrillex. The ‘ooo ooo ooo’ (lol) background that you first hear when the song opens up was taken from the song “Ring The Bell”.

Most of Biebers listeners agree that he’s only being sued by the songstress because his song was better than hers, as it's only a small piece taken from her music. It’s true, most of his song is actually his own original work minus that one sound, and therefore, a lot of people don’t believe White Hinterland has much of a case. Decide for yourself!




3. The Game and Florence + the Machine


If you ever played Grand Theft Auto V, then you’ve probably heard the song ‘Ali Bomaye’ while driving your car over innocent people walking the sidewalks.

Well, that background track reads as the following:

“Holy water cannot help you now. See I’ve come to burn your kingdom down. And no rivers and no lakes can put the fire. I’m gonna raise the stakes. I’m gonna smoke you out.”

Then the chorus in Ali Bomaye, the part that no one can understand, is the last part of “Seven Devils” at the 3:55 mark in the video. It reads:
“They can keep alive til I tear the walls. Til I slave your hearts and to take your soul, for what has been done can't be undone in the evil’s heart, in the evil’s soul.”

Both lines come straight from “Seven Devils” by Florence + the Machine. Shocker, I know.


4. Jason Derulo and Imogen Heap


Jason Derulo’s first debut single, “Whatcha Say”, was not only number 1 on the charts, but also a sample from lesser known artist Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”. Now, the entire song itself wasn’t sampled, but just one part. To hear it, fast forward to about 2:45 in the video below. But here are the actual lyrics:

“Mmmm, whatcha say, mmm that you only meant well? Well, of course you did. Mmmm, what you say? That it’s all for the best? Of course it is!”


5. Evanescence and Mozart

Okay, so Mozart isn't necessarily 'lesser known' than Evanescence. And this song isn’t as well known as the others on this list. But anyone who has ever listened to an Evanescence album knows that they are not only heavy on guitar, but on classical pieces as well, seeing as their lead singer, Amy Lee, is trained on the piano. One of her first songs she heard was Mozart’s “Lacrimosa”, which literally translates to "tearful" and alludes to the Catholic Requiem Mass. a song about the judgment of man when Jesus returns.

She loved it so much that she made a sample to it called “Lacrymosa”. The meaning of the song itself is unclear as Lee wrote it initially to be part of the “Chronicles of Narnia” album, though the producers of the movie said they never asked her to do it. Most people say it’s just another break up song while others, who know the background track and recognize it as Mozart’s original piece about the sings of man, believe it’s Amy Lee speaking for God. Supposedly, God is telling sinners that He’s not going to force them to follow Him and they can blame all their issues on Him if they want to, but, basically, He’s the Judge of all things.




So what did you think about list? Where you surprised by any of the tracks?

Well, if you weren’t, just be aware, there will be a part II in this Take series coming soon!


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Elarra is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
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Most Helpful Guy

  • i'm going to nitpick (don't hate me please) but sampling and what occurred with blurred lines are somewhat different. Sampling means you actually snip a portion of a song or speech or anything and use it in your work. whereas in blurred lines they didn't sample but created a sound that sounds like the marvin gaye song. so it's very similar to issues Sam Smith had with Tom Petty or going back further Led Zeppelin had with a lot of old blue songs they sort of took bits from

    sampling is as old as rap. the beastie boys sampled, run dmc, biggie, pac, dre, eminem, 50, jay-z i mean just about all rappers sampled music. in the early 90s a federal lawsuit said that, as with any time you take a copyrighted idea, you must get licensing and pay the artist for that material.

    as a result many artists moved away from sampling because it can costs tons of money to get licensing (like $100ks just for a tiny sample).

    anyone that argues against these lawsuits... the simple fact is no matter how short a clip is you should honor people's work and if they require money for you to use it you should pay them.

    if you didn't see it you may want to check out PBS's recent documentary Sound Breakers. It was a (i think) 10 part series (hour long episodes) about various facets of music, sampling was just one episode. it was really awesome and since you post a lot about music i think you'd like it.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I dont think there are any problems with smpling these days as most all record companies get the permission and pay the royalties where they are due. The problems like with robin Thicke as well others comes into play when two original songs are so similar such as Sam Smith's Stay with me vs Tom Petty's I won't Back down. Pettys lawyers caught that one and in addition to the royalty payments Mr Petty also has a Grammy for writing Sam Smiths song. There are other lesser know instances where some people are making ridiculous amount of money over sampling and song writing credits. Many people may not know of Billy Squire but he was a HUGE rock singer/guitarist in the 80's. His career failed due to one bad music video but thats another story. He currently makes millions because many of his songs started with just a drum beat. these beats are really easy to sample since there are no other musicians playing. Everyone from Emininem to Jay Z to Alicia Keys and many more have used his drum beats to make mega hit songs and he gets paid big for them.
    Great take.

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    • Thanks!

      I agree, I don't have a problem with someone sampling. I like all the songs on here and they're all samples. My favorite is Lacrymosa. The only one that annoyed me is Jason Derulo because you can tell he used autotune on part of it. That had nothing to do with the sampling, but it didn't sound very good.

    • this is one of my favorite Hip hop tunes using samples. Its Biz Markie sampling Little River Band (they're from the 70's) I now have some of their tunes on my playlists due to hearing them on Biz Markies song.

      https://youtu.be/dASKkvR9wDI

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What Guys Said 5

  • I'm definitely not a Justin Beiber fan, but I think that lawsuit is silly. The only thing he used was that one 3 second soundbite 😂

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  • Drake always samples other people's music. He has made a career from it

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  • Sorry wasn't sample. Skrillex posted a video online showing how he made the "ooo ooo" sound... He actually used the voice of the girl who recorded the demo to made that sound.

    Beyonce also sampled the whole beat from Major Lazer "Pon De Floor "for "Who run the world (girls)" record.

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    • I only included it because it's ongoing lawsuit still as far as I know. And last I heard, Bieber was going to settle or planned on doing so, which most people assume isn't something someone who isn't guilty would do.

      Either way, I still think the lawsuit is bull, even if they did.

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    • any song. it's cheaper to get the rights to use a song or credit a song writer for the inspiration prior to releasing an album rather than settle or go to court after the fact

  • I would've liked to see flo rida and every song he's ever made 😂

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  • nice

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What Girls Said 7

  • Ok so storytime. I took vocal class in HS and my instructor was obsessed with like classical music and musicals and stuff. She made us learn this as a warm up and I fell in love with it. Added it to my music library. This was in 10th grade, 02-03. 2006, Evanescence released that album and when I heard the song I'll never forget how crazy I went! Like this is an alternative band (for the most part) sampling freakin Mozart!!! Talk about a music mashup! This is why I love music. The possibilities are insane.

    Ok, I'm done. I'll go now. Enough nerding for the day.

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  • OMG! Number 5. I didn't know about it. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Very interesting.

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  • good

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  • Jason Derulo got permission

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  • interesting

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  • good

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