‘m a sampler. I’ve always liked the way that my beats turned out when I sampled something dope. There have been plenty of times where I didn’t sample and used nothing but keyboard synths, VST’s, Soundfonts, and everything in between. What I found out quickly though was that nothing beats sampling.
1. It’s What Started Hip Hop
Ever since DJ’s first started spinning wax in the park at block parties, Hip Hop was born from sampling. Taking two pieces of a record and going back and forth is what started it all, and the same applies for making beats.
Sampling is the foundation of Hip Hop, so why shouldn’t you sample? I strongly believe that a good part of the reason that a lot of beats today don’t sound as fresh as they used to be, is because they don’t sample. If you take a listen to a lot of the production that came out back in the 90’s, that stuff was really heavy on sampling and that’s why it just sounded so dope. With today’s music, it’s mostly generic, with a good portion of the beats sounding the same, having no substance whatsoever.
In order to make better beats, sampling is a must. Whether you realize it or not though, you will always be using sampled music in one form or another because the sounds in your VST? Sampled. The sounds in that drum kit you purchased? Sampled. When talking about sampling though, I’m talking about YOU sampling something.
2. It Can Spark Your Creativity
What I like the most about sampling is that you never know what you’re going to find. What I mean is, if you go digging for vinyl records, you never know what’s on them because there’s tons of hidden gems out there that have yet to be discovered. In a way, it’s almost like as if you’re a Hip Hop archaeologist! Those guys are always making new discoveries, just when you thought that everything on Earth had already been discovered, they find something new.
The same thing applies for Hip Hop, digging, and sampling. It’s anyone’s guess what’s in those record bins, and it can be a complete mystery as to what you will find on those records. If you choose to sample from other sources such as MP3, that’s fine too because it’s just a digital way of digging, if you know what I mean. Even with MP3’s, it can be an exciting way for you to discover new music, plus you can do it all from the comfort of your studio.
You can also sample from television or movies. I’ve often sampled from movies because there’s some crazy music that you can find, especially if you watch rare and weird movies.
3.Your Beats Will Sound Great
This can easily be debated, but I strongly believe that if you sample music for your beats, they’ll sound way better than someone that is just using synths and plug-ins. From my experience, synths only offer so much and as such, you can become very limited in what you can do with those synths. Sampling, on the other hand is basically an endless supply of sounds at your disposal.
Synths can sound amazing, (this is where the debate will grow) but a lot of synths just sound cheesy. That’s right – cheesy! Hip Hop is not supposed to sound soft, clean, and generic, instead it’s supposed to be hard, dirty, and one of a kind. How can you accomplish this with synths? You can’t. Not unless you were to add dirt to your synth sounds after you’ve recorded them.
Since music samples have a certain sound to them (providing that you’re sampling from sources like vinyl), it can instantly make your beat hot. Street hot. This is what you’re trying to accomplish, right?
There are plenty of times where you don’t want to sample, or you don’t necessarily need to sample, but it can greatly benefit you. If you’re the type that likes to use synths, then by all means continue doing that. I’ve heard lots of beats that sounded amazing and were completely sample-free, but it requires a lot of effort to get your beats to that level.
If you want a street sound and want your beats to sound hard, give sampling a try. You will come across new samples every single day if you look hard enough, and in the long run your beats will hit hard. So when in doubt, sample something!