How to Sample Like Kanye West
Do you want to create hip-hop masterpieces like one of the greatest producers of all time?
Keep reading to learn some techniques that will show you how to sample like Kanye West.
Let’s get started.
Also, check this free training for the secret to picking the perfect samples. (Ignoring this lesson can waste hours and ruin your beats.)
What makes Kanye West’s sampling style unique?
Kanye West’s sampling style is unique because he has a knack for finding and using obscure and unexpected samples in his music. He often digs deep into a variety of genres and eras to find interesting sounds and melodies to incorporate into his songs. This sets him apart from other artists because he isn’t afraid to experiment and take risks with his samples.
Another aspect that makes Kanye’s sampling style unique is his ability to transform the original samples into something completely new. He doesn’t just use the samples as they are, but he chops them up, rearranges them, and adds his own creative touches to create something fresh and innovative. This ability to reimagine and reinvent existing music is a key characteristic of Kanye’s production style.
For example, in his song “Stronger,” Kanye famously samples the song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk. He takes a small vocal snippet from the original song and builds an entire track around it, adding his own drums, synths, and production techniques to create a completely different sound. This shows how he can take a sample and make it his own, giving it a new life and purpose within his music.
What types of samples does Kanye West use?
Kanye West is known for using a wide variety of samples in his music. He has sampled all sorts of genres including soul, funk, gospel, R&B, rock, and even classical music. Some of the most memorable samples he has used come from artists like Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder.
For example, in his hit song “Gold Digger,” Kanye samples Ray Charles’ song “I Got a Woman.” He takes a small section of the original track where Ray Charles sings “I got a woman way over town, that’s good to me,” and loops it throughout the song. By doing this, Kanye creates a catchy hook for his own song.
In another one of his songs, “Jesus Walks,” Kanye samples “Walk With Me” by The ARC Choir. He takes the choir’s powerful and uplifting vocals and incorporates them into his own song, adding depth and emotion to the track.
Kanye’s sampling is not limited to just old songs either. In his album “Yeezus,” he samples and chops up sounds from contemporary artists like Chief Keef and Bon Iver. He often takes small snippets of vocals, drums, or instruments and manipulates them in creative ways to create unique sounds for his songs.
How does Kanye West manipulate samples to make them his own?
Kanye West is known for his skill in manipulating samples to create his own unique sound. He uses samples as a foundation to build his songs upon. One way he manipulates samples is by altering the pitch or speed. For example, he might take a sample from an old soul song and speed it up to give it a more energetic feel. Or he might slow down a sample to create a more chilled-out vibe. By changing the pitch and speed, he can make the sample fit his vision for the song.
Another way Kanye manipulates samples is through chopping. Chopping means taking different parts of a sample and rearranging them to create something new. He might take the drums from one part of a sample, the vocals from another part, and the melodies from yet another part, and combine them in a completely different way. This chopping technique allows him to create new musical arrangements and structures using existing samples.
Kanye also uses effects and processing to manipulate samples. He might apply filters, reverb, delay, or other effects to change the sound of a sample and make it fit with the rest of the track. This can create a unique atmosphere or add a certain character to the sample.
In addition to these techniques, Kanye often adds his own musical elements on top of the samples. He might play his own melodies using instruments like pianos or synthesizers, or add additional percussion to enhance the rhythm. By layering his own sounds on top of the samples, he is able to further make them his own and create a distinctive sound.
What software and hardware does Kanye West use for sampling?
Kanye West, being a highly influential producer in the music industry, has used various software and hardware for sampling throughout his career. One of the key software he has used is the Akai MPC (Music Production Center) series. The MPC is a powerful sampler/sequencer that allows you to chop, manipulate, and sequence samples. Kanye has been known to use different models of the MPC, like the MPC2000XL and MPC3000, which are both highly regarded for their sound and performance.
In addition to the MPC, Kanye has also utilized other software and hardware for sampling. He has been known to use Native Instruments’ Kontakt, which is a popular software sampler that provides extensive control over sampled sounds. Kontakt allows you to load and manipulate samples, add effects, and create unique sounds.
When it comes to hardware, Kanye has been seen using various synthesizers and keyboards to create his signature sample-based sound. Some examples include the Roland Juno-106, Korg Triton, and Yamaha CS-80. These keyboards offer a wide range of sounds and features that Kanye can use to sample and create his own unique musical arrangements.
It’s important to note that while Kanye West has access to high-end equipment, you don’t necessarily need the same exact gear to start sampling. There are plenty of affordable options available for beginners, such as software like Ableton Live, FL Studio, or even free software like Audacity. These programs can provide a solid starting point for sampling and allow you to experiment with different sounds and techniques.
Remember, the most important thing is to focus on developing your creativity and understanding of the sampling process, rather than getting caught up in the specific tools and gear that someone else uses. It’s all about finding your own unique sound and style through experimentation and practice.
How can I ensure my sample-based track has its own originality while still referencing the source material like Kanye West does?
Ensuring that your sample-based track has its own originality while still referencing the source material is definitely possible! One way to achieve this is by using the samples as a starting point and adding your own unique elements to the track. Here are a few tips to help you with this:
1. Chop and manipulate the sample: Instead of using the sample as it is, you can chop it into smaller sections and rearrange them to create a new melody or rhythm. You can also apply various effects like reverb, delay, or distortion to give it a different texture or mood. Experimenting with different techniques can help you transform the sample into something unique.
2. Layer additional sounds: You can layer other instruments or sounds on top of the sample to add complexity and originality. For example, you can add a bassline, drums, synthesizers, or even vocals to complement the sample and create a more dynamic track. This way, you’re not solely relying on the sample to carry the entire song.
3. Experiment with tempo and pitch: Altering the tempo and pitch of the sample can completely change its character. Speeding it up or slowing it down can give it a different energy, and raising or lowering the pitch can create new melodies. By experimenting with these parameters, you can add your own personal touch to the sample while still paying homage to the original source material.
4. Incorporate your own musical ideas: Don’t be afraid to add your own musical ideas to the track. You can compose original melodies, harmonies, or chord progressions that complement the sample. By combining your own creative ideas with the sample, you’re infusing your own unique style into the music.
The key is finding a balance between honoring the source material and adding your own personal touch. By exploring different techniques, experimenting with effects, and incorporating your own musical ideas, you can create an original and exciting track that references the source material in a fresh and creative way.
Avoid This Common Mistake…
The last thing to remember is this:
You can learn all the skills, tactics, and tools in the world…
But nothing will save your beats if you choose the wrong samples.
Too many producers struggle because they don’t know how to identify the right samples. This causes them to force sounds that don’t belong.
That’s why it’s crucial to learn sample selection.
But there’s still one small problem…
How do you know which samples to choose?
Watch this training for a simple strategy that detects the perfect samples in 30 seconds or less.
It’s perfect for sample-based producers of all experience levels.
Don’t miss your chance to overcome this common mistake.