While it might not be topping the charts as it once was sample based music producers are creating the sounds they once loved that came to prominence in the 90s golden era boom bap genre. It was again made popular with producers like Kanye West in the mid 2000s.
So what is sample based music?
Sample based music is when a producer or beat maker takes an already recorded sound and reuses and reinterprets it. Biz Markie brought some negative attention with “You got what I need” as he basically reused the whole song with very little changes. Since then musicians have had to go through the process of clearing samples with the original artist for production rights.
Here is simple breakdown of the sample based music production process:
Find a sample:
This may be the hardest part or the easiest part of the production process. Sometimes you find one right off the bat while other days you can spend hours searching for something useable. Most producers will sample either straight from vinyl or search youtube for something. Popular genres to sample include soul, jazz and funk. When searching for a sample you should listen for an open part of the song without much instrumentation that you can them loop. This open part is often referred to as a break.
Loop and add drums:
Often the break that you will find will be without either the drum part or the instrumentation. You will need to add one to the other for a traditional sounding hip hop beat or really any popular genre. You can program individual drums to fit the loop or find another separate drum break to add the instrumentation sample loop. It is important to get the loops to match the overall beat and specific BPM. Most sample based production is in 4/4 time.
The next step is to sequence these loops into a logical song structure. Most songs will contain verses, choruses and bridges. For hip hop the common structure will be a 4-8 bar intro, 16 bar verse and 8 bar chorus.
That is a very basic breakdown of the sample based production process. It obviously is not that simple but for some who are unaware of the process this will help to give a better appreciation of this musical technique.