7 Times Kanye West Recreated Samples to Produce a Classic Song


Kanye West is notorious for his skill in picking and using samples in his songs. But there’s another side to his music-making that doesn’t get as much attention—his ability to use replayed samples.

This approach is called interpolation. It’s a technique where the producer or songwriter takes parts of other songs and re-records them to create something new. Compared to sampling, it can be easier to manage legally than using a sample directly.

We’ve reviewed Kanye West’s music catalog to show you this skill in action. Here’s a list of notable songs where Ye has recreated old samples and turned them into new classics.

All Falls Down

When people refer to the “old” Kanye, this is what they’re talking about. ‘All Falls Down’ interpolates Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged performance of ‘Mystery of Iniquity.’

“She (Lauryn Hill) cleared it but then didn’t clear it,” said Plain Pat. “She pulled the clearance at the last minute. We were scrambling. We had all these replays and Syleena Johnson was at the Record Plant at the studio across. We were up all night [recording], up ’til 7am cutting it.”


This 2024 track by Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign interpolates Donna Summer’s smash hit ‘I Feel Love.’

Following the release of Vultures 1, the song was quickly pulled from streaming services due to a copyright dispute. According to Pitchfork, Kanye’s clearance request was denied by Donna Summer’s estate.

“In the face of these repeated denials, West and Co-Defendants attempted to get around this roadblock by instead making an unauthorized interpolation. West and his Co-Defendants used the song’s iconic melody as the hook for their infringing song and essentially re-recorded almost verbatim key, instantly recognizable portions of “I FEEL LOVE” using a singer soundalike to Summer, with slight changes to the lyrics (also done without permission).”

Heard ‘Em Say

‘Heard ‘Em Say’, featuring Adam Levine, is one of the singles from Kanye’s critically acclaimed album Graduation. It’s based on Natalie Cole’s ‘Someone That I Used to Love’ (1980).

The sample was replayed in a different key and rhythm to suit the track. According to Adam, “[Kanye] was like, ‘Yo, man. How are you doing? I’m Kanye.’ He was just getting big too. And he played me this record. Like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this record. Do you want to write a song together?’ On a plane. You know? And I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ And that was it. The next thing I knew we were in the studio making the record and it was that easy.”


The song Jail, featuring JAY Z, is one of the standout tracks on the 2021 album Donda. Kanye interpolates the guitar riff from the song ‘Sleep (Fingers’ Lullaby)’ by The Boomtown Rats.

(According to Young Guru, JAY Z recorded his verse on the same day of the release party.)

Blame Game

This song, from Kanye’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, interpolates Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14th.’

Back in 2011, Ken Lewis, an engineer involved in the production of the album, said the following: “They also had me do a recreation of the piano from ‘Avril 14th’ by Aphex Twin for the song ‘Blame Game,’ but I don’t think they used it (or they didn’t credit me, not sure).”

Years later, Mike Dean confirmed his version of the interpolation made it onto the final version.

Run This Town

‘Run This Town’ is the Roc Nation posse cut that features JAY Z, Rihanna and Kanye West. It’s based on the 1976 track ‘Someday in Athens’ by The 4 Levels of Existence. (We’ve yet to confirm whether Kanye directly samples or interpolates this song.)

According to Paul Tingen, “The backing tracks include his rhythm programming, electric guitars, acoustic piano, and Rihanna’s vocals, all recorded by West’s engineer Marcos Tovar at Avex Honolulu.”


‘Be’ is the intro track to one of Common’s most critically acclaimed albums. It samples the soulful 1977 song ‘Mother Nature’ by Albert Jones.

This interpolation is a near-perfect recreation of the original. However, Kanye adds a guitar melody and drum pattern to accompany Common’s lyrics.

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