Boi-1da is one of the most popular producers working in rap music today, having sculpted tracks for the likes of Eminem, G-Unit, Kardinal Offishall, Nas, Slaughtahouse, The Clipse, The Diplomats, and most famously, fellow Toronto-ian, Drake. 1da being a contemporary hit-maker with a largely keyboard dominated sound, you may wonder what if anything he’s got to say about the art of sampling. But as astute rap listeners know the T.Dot’s hip-hop scene was a boom-bap haven throughout the ’90s – a period intrinsic to the Jamaican-born 1da’s early development and his longstanding appreciation for the craft of digitally-rendered loops and chops. “I don’t need to separate one style of hip-hop vs. another style of hip-hop,” says the 26-year-old. “This is all just music to me. I appreciate everything.” Thus, he was more than enthusiastic about running down a list of his favorite sample flips.
CLICK THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO VIEW BOI-1DA’S FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS
1. Cam'ron ft. Kanye West & Syleena Johnson - "Down and Out" (Roc-A-Fella, 2004)
PRODUCER: Kanye West (and Brian “All Day” Miller – uncredited)
SAMPLE SOURCE: William Bell & Mavis Staples – “Strung Out” (Stax, 1969)
Boi-1da: That beat was one of my favorites for a long time just because the chops were so crazy. It’s one of the craziest chops I’ve ever heard. It was not an easy sample to flip. Where he got the chop from was the beginning part [of the sample source], which sounds like a horn. He chopped that and chopped one of the vocals too as well. It was just very creative. He didn’t go for the regular way that people sample, which is they’ll just find a part and loop. He went out of his way to chop different parts of the beat, mold it into one and just [simulate] one solid loop.
2. Pitch Black - "All Real" (Universal, 2004)
PRODUCER: DJ Premier
SAMPLE SOURCE: The Moments – “When the Morning Comes” (Stang, 1975)
Boi-1da: The first time I ever heard this song I saw the video on BET. I think I was like a teenager. I was really young. That’s another one of my favorites. Just how it sounds – it just did something for me when I heard it the first time. DJ Premier’s a very special producer. His sample chopping ability is like no other. He doesn’t take the easy route either with sampling ever. He [took] different parts of the sample and just played around with it.
3. Nas - "Nas Is Like" (Columbia, 1999)
PRODUCER: DJ Premier
SAMPLE SOURCE: John V. Rydgren & Bob R. Way – “What Child Is This?” (Lutheran, 1966)
Boi-1da: Oh, man, lovely chop. That’s another one, man, where I heard it and immediately [was blown away]. DJ Premier, man, he just has that magic in his music. He just finds something really dope and just chops it, and it’s just crazy, man. That was another special one, where it’s vibe-y – really vibe-y. He goes all over the place with [where he gets] the samples, but it’s just beautiful at the end of the day. When it first starts it’s like interesting – it sounds like birds in the background. Okay, that’s cool. But when the harps and the violins came in from the sample and I was just like, whoaaaa. You know with DJ Premier he’s always got the swingy drums and everything. It’s like something you can’t control – you have to nod your head on that one.
4. 50 Cent - "Window Shopper" (Interscope, 2005)
PRODUCER: Dangerous LLC – C. Styles & Sire
SAMPLE SOURCE: The Wailers – “Burnin’ & Lootin'” (Tuff Gong, 1973)
Boi-1da: I like that one a lot because when I first heard it I didn’t even know it was a sample. I thought it was played live. And then I figured out it was a Bob Marley sample – from “Burnin’ and Lootin’.” And I’m very familiar with that song so it was crazy that I didn’t realize it was a sample. They slowed it down and added like a piano and strings to it. The sample was really hidden in the background. That was one of the records that gave me a new [perspective] on sampling – as far as putting instruments on top of samples. I used to just sample and throw a bassline on [a track], and it’d be cool. But Kanye’s beats and that “Window Shopper” beat made me realize you can play stuff over the samples and it just sounds so beautiful.
5. Kanye West ft. Adam Levine - "Heard 'Em Say" (Roc-A-Fella, 2005)
PRODUCER: Kanye West
SAMPLE SOURCE: Natalie Cole – “Someone That I Used to Love” (Capitol, 1980)
Boi-1da: The piano chops on this were interesting – especially when you actually hear the sample, [and how] he cut the one part out of it [and repeated it] three times at the beginning with the piano. It was all over the place and really creative. It definitely has a kind of sad, kind of lullaby melody to it. And it was interesting because he started the album [ Late Registration ] with that. It just catches you immediately.
6. Talib Kweli - "Never Been In Love Before" (Rawkus, 2004)
PRODUCER: Just Blaze
SAMPLE SOURCE: The Imaginations – “Because I Love You” (20th Century, 1974)
Boi-1da: Whooo! Just nasty. Just Blaze – his mind is somewhere else, man. He’s one of the greatest of all-time in my eyes. Because of the way he did [what he did] with the loop, I literally had to sit and figure out what he did [when I first heard it]. He chopped the first part with the “oohs” out of the sample, then he looped the rest of the “oohs” just to make it sound like he extended it. It sounded almost like it was someone singing it he chopped it so well.
7. UGK ft. OutKast - "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)" (Jive, 2007)
PRODUCER: DJ Paul, Juicy J
SAMPLE SOURCE: Willie Hutch – “I Choose You” (Motown, 1973)
Boi-1da: That one was great because it matches the song so perfectly. And it was just dope how [DJ Paul and Juicy J] just played the sample out at the beginning of the beat. Like the whole beginning of the song was half the sample. It was just a dope idea and the vibe of the song was crazy. Yeah, [DJ Paul and Juicy J] love [sampling] Willie Hutch. The part that they looped was perfect.
8. Dr. Dre ft. Hittman, Kurupt, Nate Dogg & Six-Two - "Xxplosive" (Aftermath, 1999)
PRODUCERS: Dr Dre, Mel-Man
SAMPLE SOURCE: Soul Mann & the Brothers – “Bumpy’s Lament” (Pickwick, 1971)
Boi-1da: Dre is my favorite producer of all-time. This is another ill beat to me because Dre replayed the sample. Coming up as a young producer you don’t know these things – you gotta really listen out [for them]. And when I realized that he replayed everything it opened my eyes [to what you can do]. It was so much more clean [than the sample], and it was slowed down a little bit. That was a revolutionary beat to me – even the swing of it. You [may] remember Kanye West saying he stole the bounce of it for a lot of his stuff.
9. Drake - "Cameras" (Young Money, 2011)
PRODUCER: Noah “40” Shebib
SAMPLE SOURCE: Jon B – “Calling On You” (Epic, 2001)
Boi-1da: 40 – the way he did that sample was the reverse. He looped it and just literally played the bass line over it. It just sounds so smooth. 40 killed that one. It was a surprise when I heard [them use a Jon B sample], but then I know Drake and 40 are fans. They love Jon B. Me and 40 did “Unforgettable” off the first album with the Aaliyah flip, so Drake likes to show you in his music what he used to listen to. Drake likes a lot of old school R&B.
10. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z & J. Ivy - "Never Let Me Down" (Roc-A-Fella, 2004)
PRODUCER: Kanye West
SAMPLE SOURCE: Blackjack – “Maybe It’s the Power of Love” (Polydor, 1980)
Boi-1da: Everything about that beat is amazing, it was just perfect on every scale: the concept of the song, the drums he put on it, the way he chopped the “down” part of the sample and repeated it at the end, “down, down.” It was just sick and he played piano over it, got the choir at the end. Kanye’s a genius for that.