In the early days of electronic music, sampling gave artists nearly endless resources to create new sounds. As long as you had a multitrack sampler, you didn’t need bulky or expensive instruments. Hip-hop was born out of an ability to take already recognized drum beats, guitar melodies or vocal hooks and turn them into something new.
The must-have records to sample were usually R&B and funk and soul albums from the 60s and 70s. Filled with smooth basslines and flowing drum progressions, they naturally lent themselves to looping. But as artists became more experimental, they began to tap into wider pools of influence.
Rock music inherently lends itself to sampling. Whether it’s a distinctive drum beat or an easy-to-loop guitar hook, a carefully spliced sample can elevate a track to musical perfection. Whether it’s lifting entire sequences or simply laying down recognized riffs, these tracks are prime examples of sampling at its finest.
Cypress Hill is a hard band to pin down. They don’t really sound like the others, and few other hip hop groups have such a distinctive style. Their dark brand of gangsta rap features ominous beats and beats, with lyrics revolving around two things: gritty streets and the virtues of smoking weed.
Led by Sen Dog and B-Real – both of whom have Cuban heritage – the Latin influences are strong and were particularly prominent on their self-titled debut album – which featured numerous incidents of rapping in Spanish. With their follow-up Black Sunday (1993), they dropped the Spanish – for the most part – but retained the pot-smoking themes, demonstrated on “I Wanna Get High” and “Hits From The Bong”. Both tracks feature the floating, glassy vibe that Cypress Hill has become associated with.
On the other side of the fence, however, the record features the much darker “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That”. At the base of the track are samples of Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard” and “Wicked World”, adding a distinctly more ominous but no less addictive tone.