Sad news as the incomparable, legendary soul man Bill Withers has passed away at 81. Bill was a hip-hop producers dream, especially in the drums department, where he’s been sampled dozens of times. Here’s a few of our favourites:
Grandma’s Hands (Sampled in Blackstreet – No Diggity)
Of course we have to begin with this one. The 90s classic everybody and their own grandma knows, Dr. Dre took the opening guitar strums and the now legendary “mmhmm” vocals and turned it into one of the most recognisable R&B/Hip-Hop crossovers ever.
Kissing My Love (Sampled in Dr. Dre – Let Me Ride, and various others)
The drums. That’s all you need to know. Countless time has this break been sampled, most famously by Dr. Dre on “Let Me Ride” for “The Chronic”, but also used most recently by J. Cole on “The Cut Off”.
Use Me (Sampled on Kendrick Lamar – Sing About Me I’m Dying Of Thirst)
More drums from Bill, this break comes about a minute into the vibin “Use Me”, its stuttering break used on Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me…” for the modern classic “Good Kid Maad City”.
Rosie (Sampled on Kanye West – Roses)
This is a deep cut but one of our favourites. From “Late Registration”, using Bill’s heart-aching vocals as the melancholy hook for “Roses”, this is Kanye at his soul-sampling best… and who better than bill.
Lovely Day (Sampled on Twista – Sunshine)
Had to finish on this. Forever a classic. Forever embedded in Hip-Hop culture. “Lovely Day” was used almost verbatim for Twista’s massive hit “Sunshine”, and proves the staying power of Mr. Withers forever. RIP Bill. We miss you man.