A lot of producers get stuck in a funk of sampling from only one genre. Each producer should have their niche genre to sample from, because that creates a unique style. However, sampling from multiple genres will allow you to hear a broad range of music, thus giving you inspiration to pass on through your music.
Hearing different forms of music will give you better understanding of music structure, production techniques, and music theory. For example, by sampling a mix of jazz, funk, and mo town, your music is going to sound a lot more unique and well produced compared to another producer that only samples jazz. This is crucial for your development as a producer, which I will expand upon in the following post.
Greats That Sampled Multiple Genres
Some of the greatest Hip Hop producers are know for sampling from multiple genres. For example, J Dilla was known for sampling classic soul, to swing era Jazz, to even classical Indian music. Pete Rock has been known for stepping out of the boundary of jazz and soul samples by frequently sampling abstract electronic records. Dr. Dre, Warren G, and some underground Bay Area producers essentially changed the sound of west coast 90’s Hip Hop by sampling funk records; it’s possible Dr. Dre may not have become an acclaimed producer, had he not sampled old school funk records – particularly Parliament – creating a new sub-genre of Hip-Hop, G-Funk.
How Sampling Multiple Genres Will Make You A Better Producer
The more records you listen to, the easier it will be for you to make records of your own. By hearing different musical structures and genres, you will naturally become more musical and begin implementing different musical aspects into your production. I can bet you that every great producer has done their fair share of homework by listening to a wide variety of music. Every musical genre has a unique rhythm and swing. By listening to several genres and records, you will be able to break down different music; this will give you the tools to become better producer, also in doing so you are fundamentally being taught music theory.
Musical theory describes how musicians and composers create music, particularly music composition. Each musician uses different time signatures, scales, and rhythms – to name a few aspects of music theory – by understanding the fundamentals of music theory and the composition of a music piece, you will have a better understanding of production. This is key for developing as a music producer, I recommend every producer learn, at least, the fundamentals of music theory.
Some Genres of Music Everyone Should Sample
Late 1960-1970’s Jazz
This is typically what you will find is one of the most sampled genres of 90’s Hip Hop. This was an era where jazz musicians began to work with more modern equipment, such as electric piano’s and synthesizers for their jazz albums. The tempo of jazz in this era was also quite a bit slower than 1950-Early 1960’s jazz. This era of jazz brought beautiful chord progressions and a lot of complex rhythms that would then be heavily sampled.
If you want to find out how G-Funk attained its sound, listen to some late 1970’s and 1980’s funk albums. If you want to find where most 1980’s Hip Hop producers got their samples from, listen to 1960-1970’s James Brown. Funk is probably the most fun genre to sample because of the bounce of the rhythm. This is also a great genre to listen to because it will make you acquainted to some funky bass lines, which can be very inspirational. This era of funk uses a lot of synthesis like disco, but will typically feature large horn sections and wah-wah’ed electric piano’s and synthesizers.
This era of music is perhaps one of the most hated of all time. Nonetheless, it has perhaps of the most influential musical rhythms. (The simple 4/4 or 2/4 structure with one kick, one snare, and one hi-hat with lots of swing.) The disco sound grabs inspiration from funk and soul, and uses a ton a ton of synthesizers. This genre, like funk is upbeat, fun and easy to sample. If are wanting to create some party music, you can never go wrong sampling disco.
1950-1980’s Soul and Motown
Sampling of this genre can be heard heavily in the early 2000’s from producers like Kanye west and Just Blaze. Some of the largest hits in Hip Hop have been sampled from Mo-Town, for example NWA’s Express yourself. Mo Towns sound is derived from center stage vocals and blues melodies, it is ideal to sample if you are looking for vocals.
Where to Find Quality Music From Different Genres
Record Stores– Go into a record store and ask an employee what are some albums you recommend for your genre of choice. They will be sure to help you and will most likely have some good recommendations.
Blogs– Find a blog that is dedicated to a particular genre and read some of the posts. It should come with ease to then find some quality artists.
Google– This is a very simple way to go. Simply search ‘best (genre of your choice) artists or albums’. You will be sure to find the most popular artists of that particular genre, finding similar artists should not be a challenge either. Just search on google once again, ‘artists similar to the artists you like’.
(To read more about where to find quality music from different genres, I reccomend reading T Cusomz Production’s Post, “Top 5 Go-To Sample Genres | Crate Digging and Sampling Tips“.
By listening to albums, and being a student of music, you will expand your musical intellect. This is imperative for your growth as a producer; hearing multiple music genres and sampling from a wide variety of them will enhance your production. Every genre has it’s own unique sound and hearing different music genres will give you the ability to implement different musical aspects into your production. For this reason, I recommend every producer listen to multiple different music genres. I hope you are all having fun making beats and I also hope that all of you will begin to expand your music intellect! 🙂