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Hottest Flips 2021: Young M.A, Kenny Beats, Brockhampton, A-Trak, Vince Staples, TSHA & more
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Hottest Flips 2021: Young M.A, Kenny Beats, Brockhampton, A-Trak, Vince Staples, TSHA & more

This retrospective digging into this year’s ‘Hottest Flips’ blows us away. Not because of the Tracklib samples that were used. More importantly: because all producers have truly outdone themselves this year. This selection looks back at some of the finest flips of 2021, with first-hand production insights by all beatmakers.

By Tracklib

Young M.A. - Off The Yak (Prod. by U-Dub)

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0:00 · 0:49

When Young M.A. asked U-Dub to produce a drill beat, the New York producer headed straight into one of his favorite genres to sample: prog rock. Sampling an eerie interlude taken from a concept album-slash-rock opera which pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci.

"This sample just sounded dark enough to work as a drill beat plus it worked with that tempo. I liked the dark cinematic feel to [the sample.] I thought the unique analog Arp effect was a good ‘ear candy element’ to punctuate the end of each bar. ”—U-Dub

BROCKHAMPTON - Chain On (ft. JPEGMAFIA)

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0:00 · 0:19

After sampling a psychedelic soundscape for 2019’s “Dearly Departed,” this time producer Romil Hemnani turned to a more hot-buttered piece of music for BROCKHAMPTON’s new album. A piece of pure gold, part of previously unreleased soul by the legendary Isaac Hayes.

“Working with Peggy [JPEGMAFIA] was awesome,” says BROCKHAMPTON producer Romil Hemnani. “It felt like being a kid and just making beats for the love and joy of it - no pressure or expectations. Peggy is an incredible artist.”

Isaac Hayes is one of those artists whose music reaches further than just his discography due to how often he's sampled," he adds. "It feels good to be able to add to that lineage. I didn't realize how prevalent his music was in my life until I learned about how some of my favorite music has sampled him.”

Vince Staples - Lil Fade (Prod. by Kenny Beats)

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The eerie laugh of Bollywood icon Lata Mangeshkar from 1981 Hindi horror movie Sanata works perfectly to set the tone for "Lil Fade." Kenny Beats scoured the sample from the vast Indian catalog of Royalty Network. There's more where that came from: Lata Mangeshkar is one of India's most beloved voices, previously sampled for Britney Spears, Madvillain, Rakim, The Game, and many more.

"The themes in samples are intentional," Vince Staples told NPR back in July about working with Kenny Beats. "[Kenny] is really good at finding things for the moment. He samples based on intention and not the notoriety of the sample of it being a hit song or something."

Maydee - la zona (Lofi Beat Battle winner)

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0:00 · 4:59
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0:00 · 1:54

After producer Cookin’ Soul skimmed through over a thousand submissions to our Lofi Beat Battle, Mexican producer Maydee came out as the winner. The grand prize: his blissful “la zona” beat got officially released as a single by Chillhop Music and placed in their lofi hiphop beats playlist. In the words of his producer tag: “Maydee, that's fire.”

Cookin’ Soul: “Maydee flipped two different samples. I'm digging the bounce of the beat and the groovy bassline. 'la zona' sounds different than most of the submissions, so: good job, fam."

Purple Disco Machine - Playbox

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0:00 · 3:50
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0:00 · 4:45

With a dash of classic disco by First Choice, German DJ/producer Purple Disco Machine managed to create yet another contagious italo disco/Hi-NRG track.

"'The Player' was released right at the beginning of the disco movement," tells Purple Disco Machine. "You can hear how the groove is moving away from the funky orchestrated soul sound to the more dancefloor-focused, percussive-emerging 'disco' sound. A record made for DJs and dancers, rather than for radio airplay. The vocal and lyrics are also so cool. Soulful, with a firm message to avoid the kind of guys who cheat on their partners."

reggie - Ain’t Gon Stop Me (Prod. by Kenny Beats & Monte Booker)

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0:00 · 2:36

Backed by none other than Kenny Beats and Dreamville/Soulection producer Monte Booker, L.A.-based, Houston-raised rapper reggie continues his recent winning streak.

“Ain’t Gon Stop Me” was his first release of 2021, and follows a feature in Pigeons & Planes’ The Best New and Rising Artists to Watch Out For in 2021. The track features a sample of “Reflections” by Albert Jones, the soul singer whose song “Mother Nature” is known from that euphoric horn sample in Common’s “Be (Intro)” as sampled by Kanye West.

Pouya - I'll Always Be Around (Prod. by Mikey The Magician)

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0:00 · 3:45

Blood Was Never Thick As Water by Miami-based rapper and Buffet Boys label owner Pouya is his fourth studio album, entirely produced by Mikey the Magician and Rocci.

“We started chopping and stitching [the sample] together," says Mikey The Magician. "Once that was done I programmed drums on FL, hit it with a standard two-step hi-hat pattern, added my 808s, snares, open hats, and then we had a beat. After all that we moved the session to Pro Tools, where Rocci added live elements like guitar and synths we had laying around the studio. We just kept building until we feel we did enough to give The Republic sample justice.”

A-Trak & Ferreck Dawn - My Own Way

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0:00 · 3:43

As told by Ferreck Dawn in another Tracklib feature, together with Fool’s Gold founder A-Trak he wanted to create “a new anthem from vintage samples and timeless house energy.” A 70s soul sample by Band of Thieves was what they needed to uplift their second official collaboration, “My Own Way.”

“I was browsing the website searching for old Soul and R&B vibes, as that’s the type of samples I’m looking for all the time," says Dutch producer Ferreck Dawn. "So when I came across ‘Love Me Or Leave Me,’ I started working with that right away. The process actually went fairly quickly. I finished the basic idea and sent it to Alain. He nailed the breakdown and we were able to finish the track after sending it back and forth a few times."

Jasiah - In N Out (ft. TheHxliday & Rico Nasty)

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0:00 · 0:46

When we called library music "a true sampling treasure chest" earlier this year, we meant it. Jasiah and producer Toby Wincorn show that as well on “In N Out” featuring TheHxliday and Rico Nasty, using screeching violins from an obscure piece of brass-heavy library music from the Cavendish Archive. The track is part of this year's War album, which also features "Break Shit" built around a Latin Jazz sample.

TSHA - Power

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0:00 · 3:55

With her OnlyL EP on Ninja Tune, London-based producer TSHA lived up to previous "One to Watch" features by NME, Mixmag, DJ Mag & Billboard.

I’m The One” is a song by Direct Drive, an 80s electrofunk, disco and soul outfit from the UK. Direct Drive members Paul Hardcastle (keyboard/production) and Derek Green (vocals) later left the band to form Britfunk band First Light, with “Don’t Be Mistaken” as their debut single. “I couldn’t believe my luck to find Britfunk song ‘I’m The One’,” says TSHA. “I looped a part of the sample and started to build the drums around it, and worked from there. I really like when the loops aren’t perfect because you often get really cool bits of the audio popping out.”

A-Reece - BRAVO (ft. Belo Salo & Stogie T)

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0:00 · 4:02

For the slick "BRAVO" on his mixtape Today's Tragedy, Tomorrow's Memory, South African rapper A-Reece sampled brass off of James Monroe’s “Frontiersman of the Galaxy.”

“I feel like, at a point in the future, kids will be sampling us," A-Reece predicts. "That they sample what we do right now. Samples give the youth knowledge of music. That’s how they can appreciate the creation of it all. Like, this James Monroe song came from the 70s and is still being used in many hip-hop beats. That’s longevity."

Coast Modern - Sunshine Time

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0:00 · 4:46

A Tibetan folk sample makes for a logical fit when you hear the music of Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp: under the moniker of Coast Modern, they blur the lines between numerous styles like electro-pop, hip-hop, psychedelic music, and indie rock.

“I get a thrill out of sampling things that I feel like no one in their right mind would touch— cheesy lounge music, easy listening, you name it...", explains Luke Atlas. "Somehow I stumbled on Tibetan orchestral folk music on Tracklib, and the title ‘The Bright and Shining Moon’ stuck out to me. The music immediately took me to a place: the song sounds like a nostalgic spring day right before summer. Some samples are so obvious they slap you in the face. That was the case with this one. It’s like spotting gold in the pan!"

DAO, Tom Doolie & Cap Kendricks - Tell Me Again

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0:00 · 4:02
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0:00 · 4:09

Ocean Blvd is a new collaborative album by German producers Tom Doolie and Cap Kendricks, and Grammy-nominated DAO who worked with the likes of Drake, Kid Cudi, The LOX & Talib Kweli.

DAO: “Cap pitched the sample down three semitones and time-stretched it with Ableton Live Warp from 143 BPM to 88 BPM—which is a lot—but it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a perfectly matching vocal line that we liked. So Cap then sliced up the whole acapella into smaller pieces and rearranged parts from the chorus, second, and third verse to a new phrase which ended up as our new vocal hook."

Marlon Craft - Pace (ft. redveil) (Prod. by Arbus Beats)

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0:00 · 4:40
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0:00 · 6:19
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0:00 · 6:19

Swedish beatmaker Arbus Beats produced five tracks on Homecourt Advantage by New York emcee Marlon Craft. Soul samples throughout all of them, with the smoothest sound on the album’s main single, “Pace'', chopping a slick piece of Philly soul.

Arbus Beats: “I started with just looping the intro, which later on became the breakdown before the hook. But that got too repetitive for me so I messed with the chops a little and came up with the main loop for the song. The intro is just the sample but it’s a lot lower in volume than when the beat drops. That’s the oldest trick in the book but it works. I also isolated the bass and processed that. The rest is just variation to keep [the beat] interesting: I added some skips, noise sweeps, and additional chops.”

Joyce Wrice - Westside Gunn’s Interlude (Prod. by ESTA.)

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0:00 · 5:02

Short and sweet: a two-minute interlude from the debut album of R&B singer Joyce Wrice. "Westside Gunn's Interlude" was produced by Soulection producer and Play Nice affiliate ESTA. (heads up: twenty of his own tracks are also available on Tracklib).

“It was one of those times where I just hopped on Tracklib to look for samples,” remembers ESTA. “Phase 7's ‘You and Me’ happened to be the first one I clicked in the Soul category. Love when that happens."I heard the loop I used and said to myself, ‘Yup!’ I don’t like chopping the sample too much if the loop bangs already, so I let the loop shine."

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