On a Friday afternoon I’m sipping a cold beverage because of the unfavourable weather. There is basically nothing to do and I’m bored to death. The previous day my Father had told me about a Nigerian Afro-beat group that arose in the early 1970s called Monomono and I downloaded their top tracks. I scroll through my phone and I descend on one of their songs Get yourself together heavily, I put it on repeat a couple of times and leave it to peruse other tracks. I’m currently in a trance as I hear pleasant instrumentals fighting for supremacy in the air, vocals coming from nowhere and crushing them, everything is without a doubt ear-worthy. I realise that their music shares similarities with some Afro-beat bands. The likes of Brooklyn Afro-beat band Antibalas, London Afro-beat band Osibisa and Fela Kuti’s Africa 70. I continue on my musical sojourn and I come upon a cross road; to my right, the sweet sensation of sleep and to my left the grandeur of the music. Suddenly, I wake up from sleep to continue to feel the ancestors on the songs. I get to the song Ipade Aladun, released in 1974 and I hear the piano play Rabiatu by Osibisa, released in 1971, and my mind registers a sample. I play Awareness Is Wot You Need and I can hear guitar chords that are at the beginning of Lagbaja’s Nothing for You, released in 2000 indicating that the masked singer sampled Monomono on his track. I go to another track titled E Je a Mura Sise and the drums play Osibisa’s Ayiko Bia. I ponder all these samples in my heart and a thought drives into my mind hitting it bumper to bumper, I must write a piece on sampling. I proceed to take that nap that earlier tempted me.
Sampling is a musical experiment, where an artist lifts up the work of another artist, be it lyrics, vocals, instrumental’s i.e. horns or chords and puts them on his or her song. Sampling makes the music world go round. Some hits wouldn’t have been birthed if not for other hits, sampling also draws the attention of a younger audience to a veteran artist who made nice tunes that they don’t know about. Artists that made evergreen songs that are sampled till date are payed royalties by the artists that sampled them. Sampling to a large extent brings out the facelessness of music. It connects the younger generation to the older generation. A lot of artists, if not all have sampled on their hits. It is not a thing of embarrassment; it helps the vibe. For example, many people wouldn’t have known about the greatness of Fela Kuti and Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson if Burna Boy and Flavour respectively had not sampled their works. Burna Boy even said recently that Fela Kuti paved the way for him. The late Afro-beat maestro was instrumental to Burna Boy’s balance diet Afro-fusion. I have decided to bestow myself with the authority of a lyrical official, The Sample Police to bring these artists to you, now you decide whether they did justice or didn’t do justice to these hits. These are a few songs by our favourite artists and the songs they were sampled from.
Flavour, Nwa Baby: The Igbo highlife great sampled lyrics and chords from Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson’s hit song Sawale on his song Nwa Baby which is regarded as one of Flavour’s biggest songs, if not the biggest.
2. Flavour, To Be a Man: After Flavour discovered Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson’s music like Prince searching through boxes of Purple Rain, he could not help replicate the sound his own way. He took the chorus of Jolly Papa and put in his own words using the flow and To Be a Man was created. To Be a Man is off his Blessed album released to critical acclaim in 2012.
3. Runtown, Baby Answer: Sound God, Runtown took a bite from The Peacocks International Guitar Band’s 1970s hit Eddie Quansa and his eyes were open like when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit, he became Sound God and made Baby Answer which was his blowup song. He sampled the flow of the chorus, putting in his own words.
4. Simi, Aimasiko: The beautiful vocalist awed by the resounding chorus in Chief Ebenezer Obey’s Aimasiko decided to replicate it. She left Ebenezer Obey’s voice in the background of the chorus though and created a hit. Aimasiko, was one of the lead songs in the songstress award winning album Simisola.
5. Timaya, Dance ft Rudeboy: Papichulo and Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa State, Timaya seems to have been moved by veteran Blackky Inyang’s 1991 hit “Rosie” Can I have a dance as he replicated it on his 2017 single with Rudeboy Dance, jazzing it up to match the dancehall trend at that time. The song was nominated for Best Reggae/Dancehall single at the 2017 Headies.
6. Tekno, Jogodo: Slim Daddy, Tekno needed to sample Danfo Driver’s hit Kpolongo to make a major hit after the singer recorded a run of sleeper hits. This was however frowned upon by the veterans who wanted to take him to court for not seeking their permission before sampling the song that got the streets ‘woke’ and moving. They however settled the issue later on. There was a rumuor that they decided not to sue the Pana crooner because he kept them quiet with money.
7. Davido, Gobe: Omo Baba Olowo and 30BG boss Davido sampled his 2013 monster hit from an upcoming artist Password who has a song with a similar name. Password released his in 2011 and it appears he wasn’t happy with what Davido did. He came for him on twitter accusing him of intellectual property theft, threatening to sue him. However, they later settled the matter.
8. Olu Maintain, Cinderella ft 2face Idibia: Mr Yahooze, Olu Maintain was also infected with the sampling epidemic that affects all artists around the world. He sampled legendary Guitar Boy Victor Uwaifo’s mega hit Mami water on his 2015 2face Idibia assisted song Cinderella. This is probably the best sample I have heard.
9. Wizkid, Joro: Starboy, who is known for sampling Fela Kuti at the heat of his songs couldn’t help himself again on Joro but the difference is this time around he used the Afro-beat giant’s famous “Joro Jara Joro” which he used in Zombie to create a chorus. He delivered this on an Afro-pop instrumental changing the whole landscape from Afro-beat to a lighter Afro-pop, which is more danceable to.
10. Rasqie, Soji: The mention of the name Rasqie might not ring a bell to many people especially the younger generation who are used to the Burna Boy’s and Rema’s of this world. Rasqie was signed to Kennis Music alongside the likes of Olu Maintain, Plantashun Boiz, Remedies, Trybesmen, Azadus, Kenny Saint Brown, KC Presh among others. His song Soji which was released in 2000 was a hit. It sampled the instrumental and flow of top American rapper DMXs Ruff Ryders Anthem, released in 1998.
11. Kizz Daniel, Pak n Go: Flyboy frontman, Kizz Daniel aka Vado is not also left out of the sampling jamboree as the chorus for his recent hit Pak n Go was inspired by veteran Life Oyima’s hit My Own (Park and Go). The singer took the chorus and jazzed it up infusing afro-pop as opposed to Life Oyima’s highlife track. He showered praises on the highlife veteran for inspiring and gifted him a million naira.
12. Skales, Temper ft Burna Boy: Baseline star Skales and Don Gorgon Burna Boy created premium magic on Temper. In my opinion, it is one of the best music inventions of the last decade. The star’s sampled the works of Africano legend Lagbaja and Afro-beat legend Fela Kuti. The chorus “Coolu Coolu Temper” is an interpolation of Lagbaja’s classic Coolu Temper and there are also samples of Fela Kuti’s RofoRofo Fight and Sorrow, Tears and Blood at other parts of the song.
13. Mr Dutch, E No Finish ft Burna Boy: As usual Burna Boy went to the archives of Fela Kuti, dug out his hit Army Arrangement and took out the interlude from the song, “E No Finish E No Finish E No Finish” making it a chorus on Mr Dutch’s song E No Finish.
14. Flavour, Kwarikwa ft Fally Ipupa: Flavour’s Kwarika is a sample of Ghanian duo Wutah’s single Katosa. The duo was involved in a legal battle with Nabania over the alleged theft of the song. The song features Congolese singer Fally Ipupa. It is the lead song off Nabania’s second album Blessed, released in 2012.
15. Burna Boy, My Money, My Baby: One of Burna Boy’s best music experiments ever. He took the horns and chords of Fela Kuti’s Shakara and juxtaposed them with vocals on the chorus of Fela Kuti’s Original Sufferhead making it sound all new. The Odogwu would have escaped my ears on this but the instrumental of Fela Kuti’s Shakara is so catchy that it can be recognised a mile away.
16. Timi Dakolo ft Olamide, Take It: High profile songbird, Timi Dakolo went to a whole different place to get inspiration for his recent hit Take It. The song was sampled from popular catholic offertory hymn, Take Our Bread written in the 1960s by American Roman Catholic performer and composer Joseph Edward (Joe) Wise. Dakolo although twitched the lyrics, flow and sound, making it a regular Afro-pop RnB tune in reference to his wife Busola Dakolo who appeared in the video.
17. Zoro, Mabuza Mabuza: Igbo highlife singer and rapper Zoro was also moved by another catholic offertory hymn Mabuza Mabuza of which he fashioned out his 2016 hit of the same name, Mabuza Mabuza.
18. Odunsi, Wetin Dey: Alte de facto poster boy, Odunsi The Engine sampled Ruff Rugged & Raw hit song Wetin Dey Dey on his song of the same name. This was his first single after dropping the Rare album. He sampled the chorus of the song with his signature alte sound, infusing his lyrics on the verses.
19. Burna Boy, Wombolombo Something: Wombolombo Something, one of the African Giant’s early songs includes a sample of four-time Grammy award winning singer Angelique Kidjo’s mega hit Wombo Lombo released in 1996. This is no surprise because he has been very vocal about his love for Angelique Kidjo.
20. Waje, Kpolongo ft Timaya: Waje and Timaya’s song Kpolongo makes use of the word Kpolongo, a word formed by Danfo Driver’s (Mad Melon and Mountain Black) used in their monster hit Kpolongo.
21. Mayorkun, Red Handed ft Peruzzi, Dremo and Yonda: The self-acclaimed Mayor of Lagos’s hit Red Handed off his Mayor of Lagos album is an interpolation from Jamaican artist Shaggy’s massive hit It Wasn’t Me, released in 1999 featuring Rikrok off his For Love of the Game album.
22. Ketchup, Pam Pam: Released in 2014, Pam Pam by Ketchup is another sample of Reggae heavyweight Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me.
23. Kizz Daniel, Ikwe: I did remind you that It Wasn’t Me was a massive hit and flyboy frontman Kizz Daniel couldn’t help but bite from it in Ikwe, a song off his No Bad Songz album, released November, 2018. Shaggy really did a big one on these Nigerian acts.
24. Phyno, Ka Anyi Na Yo ft Teni: Phyno’s Ka Anyi Na Yo serves as the 12th-track on Phyno’s Deal with It album. The song is a sample of late Igbo highlife maestro Oliver De Coque’s song Kanayo Olisa.
25. Humblesmith, Arabanko: Arabanko is a song off Igbo highlife songbird Humblesmith’s album Osinachi. Humblesmith’s Arabanko is a sample of ND Stanley Nnorom’s Arabanko released in 2011 off his Ukwu Nanyi Na Mba album. Humblesmith does justice to ND Stanley Nnorom’s track adding spice to the production and lyrics.
26. Burna Boy, Destiny: Burna Boys’s Destiny off his African Giant album is a sample of Reggae mastermind Blak Ryno’s 2012 hit Diss Da Link.
27. Dj Spinall, Serious ft Burna Boy: Dj Spinall’s song Serious featuring Burna Boy off his fourth studio album Serious is a sample of Nigerian duo Black Reverendz’s Ayangba Girls released in 2000. Zamir also sampled the song on his song Dangerous featuring Kida Kudz, Fresh L and BOJ sampled the song on their song Designer Girls, DRB, Tobenna and Davido sampled the song on their song Serious. American Rapper, Busta Rhymes serves as the main inspiration behind all this though as Black Reverendz sampled his 1997 hit Dangerous.
28. Tiwa Savage, Fela Interlude: Ex-mavin songstress Tiwa Savage sampled Fela Kuti’s Lady in her song Fela Interlude which is on her first album Once Upon a Time, released in 2013. She changed the song from ardent Afro-beat with chanted vocals to mellow RnB. She did justice on the sample.
29. Timi Dakolo, Send Down The Rain: Timi Dakolo’s Send Down The Rain released in 2013 is an interpolation from Majek’s Fashek’s mega hit Send Down The Rain released in 1991 off his Spirit of Love album. He elevated the instrumentals that were on the track and changed the song from Reggae to an RnB, soul fusion. Majek Fashek accused Dakolo of having no talent and creativity and he proceeded to sue him saying that he had not asked for permission before sampling the song. Dakolo said that he had earlier reached across to the Reggae veteran telling him that he was going to sample the song.
30. Majek Fashek: On his Redemption Song the high-profile Reggae musician sampled late Reggae maestro Bob Marley’s Redemption Song featuring The Wailers released in 1980 off the album Uprising.
By Cephas Oboh