Since its humble beginnings, one of Hip Hop's most distinctive features has been sampling, which involves taking a portion of a recording and reusing it to create a fresh song. DJs like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash would extend breaks from funk, soul, and disco tracks to create new musical experiences for their audiences.

The advent of more sophisticated technology like the Akai MPC brought forth new sampling techniques. Marley Marl, the Bomb Squad, and other beatsmiths used the method to create dense, layered tracks that became the backbone of Hip Hop’s golden age. Classic albums like Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid in Full showcased complex, dynamic soundscapes that pushed the boundaries of contemporary music.

As with other facets of Hip Hop, sampling continued to evolve. Dr. Dre’s The Chronic utilized samples from funk and soul records to create G-funk, his distinct West Coast sound that became hugely influential. On the East Coast, DJ Premier's gritty, jazz-infused beats for Gang Starr and Nas made its own waves.

Despite its creative potential, sampling has also been a source of legal contention. As the popularity of Hip Hop grew, so did scrutiny from the music industry, and high-profile lawsuits highlighted the need for clear legal frameworks. These challenges have made sampling more complex and costly, but they have also led to new forms of innovation.

Below, REVOLT put together a list of popular singles -- and the producers that created them -- that have borrowed from historical cuts to become reworked masterpieces. Sampling not only honors the past, but also reinvents it, ensuring that Hip Hop remains a dynamic and ever-evolving art form.

1. Just A Friend – Produced by Biz Markie and Cool V

The playful “Just A Friend” was a Billboard top 10 success from Biz Markie’s sophomore LP, The Biz Never Sleeps. The melody and chorus of the track was borrowed from Freddie Scott’s “(You) Got What I Need,” while the late artist slowed down a drum loop from Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out of My Life, Woman.” Check can check out Markie’s breakdown of the booming cut here.

2. Crush On You (Remix) – Produced by Andraeo "Fanatic" Heard

As former The Hitmen producer Andraeo “Fanatic” Heard expressed in an interview with HipHopDX, Lil’ Kim’s “Crush On You” is “a moment in time.” Taken from Kim’s debut LP, Hard Core, the original version only featured verses from longtime collaborator Lil’ Cease before the main artist added bars to its wildly successful remix. The sample came from the Jeff Lorber Fusion’s “Rain Dance” and was later copied on songs by Ariana Grande, King Combs, and Ja Rule.

3. Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) – Produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J

DJ Paul and Juicy J’s “Int’l Players Anthem” beat began as Project Pat’s Layin' Da Smack Down standout, “Choose U.” As Paul explained to BET, a then-incarcerated Pimp C requested the production, which borrowed from Willie Hutch’s iconic “I Choose You” from The Mack, and the rest was history. “When [Pimp] got out of prison, he came to our house and rapped over it. I did it and it blew up,” Paul explained. “I didn’t want to give him a new beat ‘cause I loved that song.”

“Paid In Full,” taken from Eric B. & Rakim’s album of the same name, utilized more than a few musical pieces to become the timeless offering that it is. The Hip Hop duo brought together elements from The Soul Searchers’ “Ashley's Roachclip,” Dennis Edwards’ “Don’t Look Any Further,” and Fab 5 Freddy’s “Chance The Beat.” As explained here, the voice samples were pulled from Israeli singer Ofra Haza’s “Im Nin'alu,” Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep, and Geoffrey Sumner, a British broadcaster who delivered the timeless opening line, “This is a journey into sound.”

5. Kick, Push – Produced by Soundtrakk

Lupe Fiasco’s beautifully jazzy “Kick, Push” -- a classic single from his debut LP, Food & Liquor -- sampled Filipino singer and actress Celeste Legaspi‘s “Magtaksil Man Ikaw (Bolero Medley),” which can be found on the album Bagong Plaka, Lumang Kanta Vol. 2. Lupe gushed about “Kick, Push” and the song’s producer, Soundtrakk, in an interview with Billboard, comparing their relationship dynamic to “Batman and Commissioner Gordon.”

6. U.N.I.T.Y. – Produced by Kay Gee and Mufi

In an interview for AMPLE SAMPLES™, Naughty By Nature’s Kay Gee spoke candidly on his and Melvin “Mufi” Dinkins’ creation of “U.N.I.T.Y.” According to the legendary producer, Mufi brought the song’s sample, The Crusaders’ "A Message From the Inner City” into the mix. “[Mufi] just sat down, and starting messing with it and looping it up,” Kay Gee explained. The Grammy Award-winning single’s hook also took inspiration from Desmond Dekker’s “Unity.”

7. A Milli – Produced by Bangladesh and Cha Lo

The production for Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” was meticulously crafted using pieces from Gladys Knight & The Pips’ “Don't Burn Down the Bridge” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo (Vampire Mix),” the latter of which was where the infectious hook was taken from. Tha Carter III hit wasn’t without controversy, much in part thanks to an apparent conflict between Bangladesh and Cha Lo. Adding to the turmoil, Bangladesh would later blast Wayne, Birdman, and Cash Money over alleged non-payment.

8. Juicy – Produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Poke, and Pete Rock

One of the greatest Hip Hop songs of all time heavily sampled Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” -- specifically, a “Fruity Instrumental” remix of the R&B cut. After its success, Pete Rock sparked a temporary conflict over not being acknowledged as a co-producer on the Ready To Die single, which is officially credited to Sean “Diddy” Combs and the Trackmasters’ Jean-Claude “Poke” Olivier.

9. Mind Playing Tricks On Me – Produced by Scarface

The Geto Boys’ ode to paranoia was originally meant for member Scarface, who produced and penned the entire song. The track utilized Isaac Hayes’ “Hung Up on My Baby,” Graham Central Station’s “The Jam,” and an earlier Geto Boys cut titled “Mind of a Lunatic.” Speaking to MTV, Scarface’s grandmother revealed how she inspired the We Can’t Be Stopped standout.

10. Shook Ones, Pt. II – Produced by Havoc

“Shook Ones, Pt. II,” taken from Mobb Deep’s The Infamous album, sampled Herbie Hancock’s “Jessica,” Quincy Jones’ “Kitty With the Bent Frame,” and Daly-Wilson Big Band’s “Dirty Feet.” During an appearance on Song Exploder, Havoc revealed that the drums were sequenced on an Akai MPC60 and the other samples were sequenced on an Ensoniq EPS-16 Plus. In another interview with Pigeons & Planes, he spoke on how the beat would have been erased if not for the late Prodigy’s persistence.

11. C.R.E.A.M. – Produced by RZA

Originally titled “Lifestyles of the Mega-Rich,” the above Wu-Tang Clan banger contained components from The Charmels’ “As Long as I've Got You,” Jimmy Spicer’s “Money (Dollar Bill Y'all),” and The Delfonics’ “Hey Love.” Along with “Protect Ya Neck,” “C.R.E.A.M.” would set a new standard for hard-hitting East Coast production and influence the use of samples in Hip Hop across the globe.

12. It Was A Good Day – Produced by DJ Pooh

In an interview with the now-defunct Blender, Ice Cube explained how he brought a copy of the Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps In The Dark” to a studio session with DJ Pooh. “I’d heard that track sampled before on ‘Can I Kill It?’ by Compton’s Most Wanted, but they only used a small section for a loop,” he said. Pooh added that he “enhanced the Isley’s music with bass and vocals to give it even more of an easy-listening vibe.” Another song, The Moments’ “Sexy Mama,” was also utilized for the timeless The Predator single.

13. Gangsta’s Paradise – Produced by Doug Rasheed

The nucleus of Coolio’s biggest hit is Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise,” both regarding the song’s production and lyrics. Interestingly enough, the sample would not have been cleared had the Dangerous Minds single not been devoid of any profanity. “I had a few vulgarities… and [Wonder] wasn't with that," said Coolio to Billboard. "So, I changed it. Once he heard it, he thought it was incredible."

14. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See – Produced by Shamello, Buddah, and Epitome

A high-energy offering from When Disaster Strikes..., “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” pulled from Seals and Crofts' "Sweet Green Fields." In an interview shared by East New York Entertainment, Buddah explained how Shamello brought the soft rock offering to the table. Using an MPC2000, the producers got to work. “We danced all night. We danced from the minute we finished that record till about seven in the morning,” Buddah said.

15. Ready Or Not – Produced by The Fugees and Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis

For the groundbreaking “Ready Or Not,” The Fugees connected with Wyclef Jean’s cousin, Jerry Wonda, who beautifully flipped Enya’s “Boadicea.” As Enya later revealed to Forbes, she considered suing the Haitian-American group for copyright infringement. Thankfully, all parties were able to reach an agreement. “Luckily, when [she] heard everything, she was like, ‘This is different’ and she gave us a pass – which she don't even need to do,” Wyclef explained to HipHopDX. The rest is history.

16. N.Y. State Of Mind – Produced by DJ Premier

“N.Y. State Of Mind” is arguably one of the best beats of DJ Premier’s decorated career. Taken from Nas’ universally acclaimed Illmatic album, the track pulled from multiple songs, including Joe Chambers’ “Mind Rain,” Donald Byrd’s “Flight Time,” and Kool & the Gang’s “N.T.” It only made sense for the duo to create an equally impressive sequel, "N.Y. State of Mind Pt. II," for I Am...

17. Empire State Of Mind – Produced by Al Shux, Janet Sewell, and Angela Hunte

Taken from The Blueprint 3, “Empire State Of Mind” became JAY-Z's first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 of his career as a lead artist. The piano component of the song, which served as a tribute to New York City, was lifted from the beginning of The Moments’ “Love on a Two Way Street.” “After playing the track to a few people in the industry, it got to a guy called Big Jon [Platt],” explained the U.K.-hailing Al Shux to VIBE. “He took it to JAY-Z, and he used the hook and re-wrote his own verses.”

18. The Crossroads – Produced by DJ Dre Ghost, DJ U-Neek, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

On their pivotal sophomore LP, E. 1999 Eternal, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony paid tribute to a fallen loved one on “Crossroad.” Following the tragic passing of others – including Eazy-E – the group would provide a new iteration titled “The Crossroads,” which they produced alongside Dre Ghost and longtime collaborator DJ U-Neek. The chart-topping offering sampled The Isley Brothers’ “Make Me Say It Again Girl (Part 1 & 2).”

19. What You Know – Produced by DJ Toomp

One of T.I.’s most notable cuts came courtesy of DJ Toomp, whose signature sound provided a booming backdrop for everyone from Mariah Carey to Kanye West. For T.I.’s double-platinum King standout, the veteran producer borrowed the uplifting melody from Roberta Flack’s “Gone Away” to craft one of Atlanta’s biggest anthems.

20. Blood On The Leaves – Produced by Kanye West, TNGHT (Lunice and Hudson Mohawke), Carlos “6 July” Broady, 88-Keys, MIKE DEAN, and Arca

By the time Kanye West’s sixth studio LP, Yeezus, arrived, the Chicago star already garnered a reputation of connecting with a collective of producers for a single track. The formula definitely worked for “Blood On The Leaves,” which was fueled by Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit,” C-Murder's “Down For My N**gaz,” and TNGHT’s “Are You Ready.”

21. They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) – Produced by Pete Rock

Taken from Mecca and the Soul Brother, “T.R.O.Y.” was a heartfelt tribute to late Heavy D & The Boyz member Troy “Trouble T Roy” Dixon. “I was kind of depressed when I made it,” Pete Rock said in an interview with The Village Voice. “And to this day, I can't believe I made it through, the way I was feeling.” Rock also spoke on the song’s sampling of Tom Scott and The California Dreamers’ “Today,” explaining how he “just heard something incredible that touched me and made me cry.” “T.R.O.Y.” also utilized The Beginning of the End’s “When She Made Me Promise” and James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud.”

22. 93 ‘Til Infinity – Produced by A-Plus

A true Bay Area staple. The sound of “93 'Til Infinity” is defined by Souls of Mischief's unique style -- internal rhyme schemes and beats built on live bass and rare jazz and funk samples. For the above classic, member A-Plus blended together pieces from Billy Cobham’s “Heather,” Graham Central Station’s “The Jam,” and Duke Williams and the Extremes’ “Chinese Chicken.”

23. The Next Episode – Produced by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man

Before Masta Ace, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, and Bfb Da Packman sampled the David Axelrod-backed classic, David McCallum’s “The Edge,” Dr. Dre and his then-production partner Mel-Man used it for “The Next Episode,” a loose sequel to Dre and Snoop Dogg's "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang." As a fun fact, the Scottish McCallum was also a well-known actor who starred in hit shows like “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “NCIS.”

24. Paper Planes – Produced by M.I.A., Switch, and Diplo

Most people probably know “Paper Planes” from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, but it also served as a lead single from M.I.A.’s sophomore LP, Kala. The track, which the British rapper produced with Switch and Diplo, is a unique Hip Hop record due to its samples. In addition to taking elements from The Clash’s “Straight To Hell” and Wreckx-N-Effect's “Rump Shaker,” “Paper Planes” also boasted a couple of gun sound effects from the Hollywood Edge library.

25. B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Produced by Sounwave

One of Kendrick Lamar’s most poignant singles was produced by Sounwave, who sampled “Tiden Flyver” -- from Scandinavian soul and dance collective Boom Clap Bachelors – to create the masterpiece. “B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” was also notable because it was originally a collaboration with Lady Gaga titled “Partynauseous.” The pop star was eventually scrapped from the final product due to creative differences, causing a bit of confusion amongst her fans thanks to her advance announcement of the song’s initial iteration. Gaga did provide an unofficial release and even performed her version on a past tour, which Lamar expressed pleasant surprise over.