Our Top 10 David Axelrod Samples

After hearing about the sad passing of the legendary Jazz musician David Axelrod, whose genius spawned countless Hip-Hop classics, we decided to compile 10 of our favourites, so get comfortable and get familiar with the man that gave us the following (In No Particular Order):

10) Joey BadA$$ – Righteous Minds (Sampling David Axelrod’s “Holy Thursday”)

Kicking off with a stone cold classic jazz track, this has famously been sampled by the likes of Lil Wayne (Dr. Carter), Pete Rock (INI – Think Twice) and even UNKLE (Rabbit In Your Headlights).

We’re giving the nod to Joey and Pro Era for bringing Axelrod forward into modern day Hip-Hop and turning him on to the younger generation.

David Axelrod – Holy Thursday (Sample at 1:50)

Joey Bada$$ – Righteous Minds

9) 2 Chainz – I Feel Good (Sampled Willie Tee’s “Loneliness”)

Axelrod on production this time for New Orleans soul man Willie Tee, the arrangement of that orchestra is screaming to be sampled, which is what producer Don Canon did for 2 Chainz off his 2012 album “Based On A T.R.U. Story”. Classic sounding stuff in the modern era.

Willie Tee – Loneliness (Sample at 0:12)

2 Chainz – I Feel Good

8) Quasimoto – The Unseen (Sampled David Axelrod’s “The Signs Part II)

Moving to the Loop Digga, Madlib the Bad Kid, who, frankly, chopped the absolute shit out of this one for his Quasimoto project album also titled “The Unseen”.

No more needs to be said, we’re giving you the instrumental so you can just listen and try to dissect it. Thank you Axelrod for the awesome vocals.

David Axelrod – The Signs Part II (Sample at 1:41)

Quasimoto – The Unseen (Instrumental)

7) Dilated Peoples – Third Degree (Sampled Lou Rawls’ “Lifetime Monologue”)

Another masterful arrangement, but this time it’s all about that sweet sweet drum break that provides the backbone for Alchemist to lay Primotivo Santos’ “La Pantera” over.

This drum break has been countlessly sampled by the likes of J. Cole (All I Want Is You) Nas (Street’s Disciple) and 50 Cent (Flight 187) and is just another reason as to why Axelrod was and is so important to Hip-Hop music.

Lou Rawls – Lifetime Monologue (Sample at 0:00)

Dilated Peoples – Third Degree


6) DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World (Sampled David Axelrod’s The Human Abstract)

Of course DJ Shadow, master of stitching music together to create Hip-Hop classics, had to have sampled Axelrod, and did so sampling Axelrod’s “The Human Abstract” twice on his masterpiece album “Endtroducing…”, one being on “Stem/Long Stem/Transmission 2” and the second (and our favourite) the lonely piano in “Midnight In A Perfect World”. Devastating.

David Axelrod – The Human Abstract (Sample at 5:01)

DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World


5) Jurassic 5 – A Day At The Races (Sampled David Axelrod’s “Urizen”)

Axelrod helped Jurassic get their funk on with a stomping 70s style blaxploitation groover. That bassline though…

David Axelrod – Urizen (Sample at 2:30)

Jurassic 5 – A Day At The Races

4) Mos Def – Hip Hop (Sampled David Axelrod’s “The Warnings Part II)

Off of the seminal “Black On Both Sides”, Mos Def and legendary producer Diamond D flipped these amazing horns so damn beautifully. It’s wholly New York sounding, even though Axelrod was from California, but i guess it doesn’t matter when music is this damn good.

David Axelrod – The Warnings Part II (Sample at 1:22)

Mos Def – Hip Hop

3) Black Star – Respiration (Sampled Don Randi’s “Theme From ‘The Fox'”

Another Axelrod production, this time for Don Randi, which producer Hi-Tek absolutely bodied.

Classics make classics… Absolute Goosebumps.

Don Randi – Theme From ‘The Fox’ (Sample at 1:03)

Black Star – Respiration

2) Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Sampled The Cannonball Adderley Quintet’s “Soul Virgo”)

Q-Tip loves himself some Axelrod. This timeless Tribe classic is probably the weirdest Axelrod cut of this list, as it actually ends up near the end of the track, but it’s part of it’s make-up nonetheless. The on stage live jazz freak out exclaiming ‘sex!’ constantly was intriguing enough for Q-Tip to decide to use, and one way or another, works both as an outro and a transition into the next track on the album (Peoples Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm).

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet –  Soul Virgo (Sample at 0:36)

Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Sample at 3:19)

1) Dr. Dre – The Next Episode (Sampled David McCallum – The Edge)

I mean, is there anything to say about this? Maybe Axelrod’s most famous arrangement/production ever, he probably had no idea the imprint he would make on Hip Hop with this one song.

Thank you David.

David McCallum – The Edge (Sample at 0:00)

Dr. Dre – The Next Episode