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6 Famous Songs You Never Knew Sampled Other Famous Songs

Updated: May 28, 2022

These 6 tracks gave us some serious inception vibes by incorporating a song within a song.

2006 was the year Fergie taught us all how to spell “glamorous” with her hit song by the same name ft Ludacris. It’s an iconic early 2000s pop song. You know it, we know it and Jack Harlow knows it. Unless you've been sitting under a rock, it’s been hard to escape Harlowe’s newest single “First-Class”, which has gone viral on Tik Tok and samples the Duchess’s (AKA Fergie) “Glamorous”.

Jack Harlow at the MET Gala
Jack Harlow | Image from Instagram @jackharlow

We are living for that early 2000s nostalgia, and so is the rest of the world, as evidenced by the song’s streaming bump, which has seen a 70% streaming increase due to Harlow's sampling.

Sampling, for those unaware, is when a snippet of a previously recorded song is placed into the instrumentation, melody, or lyrics of another song. Sometimes, the sample is easy to detect, other times, you need a sharp ear. Harlow’s sampling in ‘First-Class’ got us thinking of all the other famous songs that use sampling. And some of them may surprise you.

(note: some of the songs include interpolation- which differs from sampling in that the former re-records the melody, while the latter uses the original melody)

1. Old Town Road by Lil Nas X

Behind all the trap/rap and country sounds of this absolute bop is a sample from the song “34 Ghosts IV” by Nine Inch Nails. The song will start to sound farmiliar around the 7-second mark.

2. Critical Beauty by Pentagon

The art of sampling originated from Hip Hop, but it has become widespread in all genres, including K-Pop. The opening of Pentagon’s summer hit, “Critical Beauty”, samples none other than Elvis Presley's 1957 “Jail House Rock”. Yes, that absolute perfection of an opening melody existed way before any of us were born.

3. Hung Up by Madonna

This one is a big deal, as Madonna sampled from the legendary ABBA, specifically from their single “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. Madonna personally sought out the band’s permission to use their instrumentation. This is the second time the band has granted permission to sample one of their songs. Honestly, it’s one of the best melodies we have ever heard. It’s impossible not to dance to it.

4. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani

Fergie taught us how to spell “glamorous”, while Gwen Stefani taught us how to spell “bananas” with the Y2K hit “Hollaback Girl". She sampled Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. You can actually hear Stefani say “and another one bites the dust” at around the 1:55 mark. We were today years old when we made this connection and realized she was referring to the legendary Queen. SMH.

5. Agust D by Suga (of BTS)

Before debuting as a member of BTS, Suga featured his solo song “Agust D”, which samples James Brown’s “It's a Man's Man's Man's World”. You can hear it at the beginning of the mixtape track as well as throughout the song. He manages to incorporate it quite seamlessly into the track.

6. Wild Thoughts by DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller

"Wild Thoughts" dominated the charts in the summer of 2017. The song heavily samples Santana's “Maria Maria”. Really, the melody of the song originates from Santana's original song. And it’s one killer beat. You can listen to the original down below. Khaled, Rihanna and Tiller really take the song to a new dimension.

Which one of these surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments.


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