Tracklib’s The State of Sampling offers an exclusive look at the impact of sampling. The end-of-the-year report is based on dissecting all of 2022’s Billboard Hot 100 hits, and meticulously researching the year’s trends and top news stories. The State of Sampling paints a full picture of sampling in today’s popular music.




December 13, 2022

Good to Know (Before Reading)<br><br>

What is Sampling?
The art of sampling can take many forms. For The State of Sampling, we specifically focus on sampling existing songs—not sample packs. In other words: taking portions of originally released music for a new production. Sampling as a means to reuse, transform, and/or recontextualize existing songs in the most creative and ingenious ways imaginable.

Billboard Hot 100
Our research is based on all of this year’s Billboard Hot 100 chart hits. So when we mention “songs” or “hits” in this report, we mean to refer to Billboard Hot 100 Hits from 2022.


Nearly 1 out of 5 hits are sampled

17% of all hits this year sample from previously released songs.

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A couple’s intimate improvisation made a worldwide hit

Canadian couple Ace G and Maryam Eydo would have had a hard time foreseeing that a few seconds of their live jam would get heard by the world, on repeat, 150 million+ times. Jack Harlow and Drake sampled a bit from their intimate late-night session for their hit “Churchill Downs.” Maryam Eydo: “This melody was born out of my love for Ace G, it’s crazy that such an intimate moment is now being heard worldwide.”


The 2000s is the most sampled decade...

With an increase of 24% compared to last year, songs released in the 2000s are now the most popular to sample.

gen z

The new nostalgia for younger producers

That means for the first time ever, songs from the 2000s were more popular to sample than music from the 90s. This means Gen Z’s generation of producers—with their own sense of what’s “nostalgic”—has made its entrance into the charts. That marks a real turning point this year.

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Sampling finally qualified for the World Cup of soccer

For the first time ever, a FIFA World Cup anthem samples the recording of another song. This year’s anthem by Lil Baby, “​​The World Is Yours to Take,” heavily samples “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” an 80s classic by Tears for Fears. However—similarly to the world cup in Qatar—not to popular acclaim… Pitchfork even called the song “one of the weirdest rap songs of the year.”


R&B is the most sampled genre…

Last year, the popularity of sampling R&B songs was record-breaking. This year, there’s even an increase of 40% on top of that.

RnB most sampled v2

…which dethrones hip-hop as the most sampled genre

Hip-hop songs have been the most popular to sample, as far as our records go back (2008). So the fact that R&B overtakes the number one spot this year, is a big deal.


Sampling from dance music is more popular than ever

This year saw many hits sampling from dance music. For instance, sampling from old-school house classics and modern-day EDM hits. 2022 marks the highest number of samples from dance music we’ve ever seen.


The Biggest Samples of 2022


The lines between sampling and remixing are blurring

‘How TikTok Song Remixes and Mashups Are Changing Music Marketing,’ Business Insider headlined in September. Indeed it has. Numerous hits this year heavily borrow from the familiarity of classic songs.

Of all the hits sampling from other songs this year, around 20% relies on the original so heavily, it’s closing in on being a remake or remix as opposed to sampling from it. The opposite of classic crate-digging, if you will: familiarity trumps obscurity.

Tiny Dancer

Example #1: David Guetta samples Eiffel 65's Eurodance classic "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" for "I'm Good (Blue)"

Example #2: The beat of J.I.D's "Surround Sound" is a recreation of the sample flip on Mos Def's "Ms. Fat Booty."

Example #3: Elton John samples three of his own hits for 2022's "Hold Me Closer" with Britney Spears.

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Fred Again… samples actual life and credits actual people

Nearly every song in Fred Again…’s Actual Life trilogy is titled after the first name of friends and extended family—people he samples with Instagram clips and voice memos he received as his source material. Even collaborators like 070 Shake (Danielle), Mustafa The Poet (Mustafa), and Wet (Kelly) are on a first-name basis with Fred. "I felt particularly delicate sampling [other people], because it's so powerful and personal," he said in an interview"I get so worried that I'm bastardizing or patronizing someone's original emotion. So I was very anxious to do that."

Most Sampled Songs on Tracklib

House Comeback


The roots of house music are back—fueled by sampling

Trend-setting albums by Beyoncé (Renaissance) and Drake (Honestly, Nevermind) both build off a rich history of house music and its Black roots. But it’s not just them.

Sampling from dance music was 367% more popular this year. This slow-rising trend started in 2019, when there was not even a single hit sampling classic house music. This year, however, 16% of the songs that are sampled dug deep into the early days of dance music.

Example #1: Beyoncé's "BREAK MY SOUL" samples 1992 house classic "Show Me Love" by Robin S.

Example #2: The sound of Baltimore Club on Drake's "Calling My Name."

Example #3: The touch of early-80s "Electric Boogie" on Cardi B's "Hot Shit" featuring Kanye West & Lil Durk.

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The softcore sample on Drake & 21 Savage’s “Rich Flex” puzzles the original composer

There are many meme-worthy moments on Drake & 21 Savage’s surprise collab album, Her Loss. But Drake cutting off 21 Savage’s verse to sing about “all you hoes” takes the cake. But there’s more oddness at play here: the choir was sampled from softcore indie film Invasion of the Bee Girls, an obscure 1973 cult movie about women who turn "into queen bees who kill men by wearing them out sexually." The 79-year-old composer himself left a comment on the WhoSampled page, saying “it’s really a mystery to me how they found the sample.”


Stems are more important than ever

The release of the ground-breaking software Serato Stems; Kanye West’s Stem Player; technological advancements with online stem extractors… All of this indicates the growing importance of stems in modern-day sampling.

Case in point: the search term “acapella extractor” in Google Trends is rapidly increasing every year for the last five years, by 800% in total. Tracklib’s statistics back this up: the songs on Tracklib with stems available are nine times more likely to be sampled than songs without stems available.


Example #1: On "First Class," Jack Harlow uses an acapella stem of Fergie's "Glamorous."

Example #2: Nicki Minaj's "Super Freaky Girl" takes stems, acapellas, and the title from Rick James' "Super Freak."

Example #3: Mary J. Blige's isolated vocals off 1994's "Be Happy" run through YG's "Toxic."

What are stems and multitracks?
When a song is stripped to its core elements (drums, bass, vocals, etc.), that's called the stems of a song. Multitracks refer to the individual elements of a song (kick drum, hi-hat, backing vocals, lead vocals, etc.).

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The ‘Oldest Sample of the Year’ Award goes to…

Lil Baby’s “Cost to Be Alive”, which samples “My Man” by Billie Holiday with Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra, dating all the way back to 1937. Billie’s opening phrase of the track, “It cost me a lot…” is the main lyrical motive throughout Lil Baby’s hit song.



Sample drill: the fastest-growing subgenre in the world

Sample drill is an offspring of drill music. The subgenre is deeply rooted in sampling and specifically uses 90s and 2000s-era R&B and hip-hop as its building blocks.

For such a young subgenre, its popularity is already undeniable: Google Trends shows that the subgenre’s interest has increased with 442% in the last three years. On TikTok alone, its hashtag has reached a staggering amount of 112 million views in barely two years. Strong indications that this is likely the fastest-growing subgenre in the world.


ALL samples on Beyoncé's Renaissance are an homage to LGBTQ+

Beyoncé’s album Renaissance is a celebration of 80s ballroom culture and the Black queer roots of house music. That concept is executed down to the finest detail. Most notably by collaborating with a wide range of Black LGBTQ+ artists. But also every single sample and interpolation is a queer anthem or made by LGBTQ+ artists, which takes sample selection to a whole new level.

Google Assistant


AI is now discovering samples that were hidden for decades

Back in July, a member of the Sample Hunting community discovered that Google Assistant's artificial intelligence is scarily good at recognizing audio—even finding one-shots and samples in different pitches.

Completely thanks to AI, Sample Hunting unearthed numerous samples that were shrouded in mystery for decades. Such as several samples on Daft Punk’s iconic 2001 album Discovery, and classics by Mobb Deep, Quasimoto, Justice, and Modjo.

Credit where credit’s due: A big shout-out to members of the Sample Hunting community including DJPasta, Kodhi, Xeno, and lobelia for spearheading this technique and for discovering the samples mentioned above. They were kind enough to share all about it on the Tracklib Community on Discord.

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Bad Bunny channels inner patriot by sampling national icon 3 times in 1 song

As one of the biggest artists in the world, rapper/producer Bad Bunny doesn’t shy away from showing love to his home country of Puerto Rico. On his hit song “El Apagon”, he takes that one step further by sampling three different recordings of salsa singer and Puerto Rican icon Ismael Rivera.

Artists Who Used Tracklib in 2022

In Memoriam

Gone but not forgotten.
Their legacy lives on.

Photo credits: Calvin Simons, Betty Davis (by Gilles Petard/Redfern), Don Lewis (by Jim Dennis), Creed Taylor, Gal Costa, Bettye Crutcher, Klaus Schulze (by Zero Mag), Lamont Dozier (by Michael Ochs Archives), Ian McDonald (by Richard Bourgerie), James Mtume (by Double XXposure Media Relations), Patrick Adams (by Mixcloud), Christine McVie, Ivy Jo Hunter (by Motown Archives), Pharoah Sanders (by Frans Schellekens/Redferns), Ramsey Lewis (by JT archives), Timmy Thomas (by Michael Putland), Syl Johnson (by NY Times), Joyce Sims.

2023 and beyond

What's Next for Sampling?

The ever-changing music industry gets more fascinating by the day, and so does the world of sampling. For the last three years, sampling has increasingly become more popular. Ever since changing the face of genres like hip-hop and house music, the impact of sampling is present in many genres. Katie Bain, director of Billboard Dance, even mentioned “a tidal wave of early 2000s samples and interpolations in dance music this year.”

This year also clearly indicates a changing of the guard: R&B dethrones hip-hop as the most sampled genre. On top of that, Gen Z producers channel their own nostalgia through 2000s-centric sampling.

That’s all a prelude to what’s next for sampling. Utilizing the familiarity of old hits and classics has always been a trick from the pop-music playbook, but this year shows that's growingly turning into a go-to recipe for success. Partly because platforms like TikTok are ripping up that playbook to set new rules for music discovery and reviving old songs.

No wonder artists like Jack Harlow, Beyoncé, David Guetta, and even pop icon Elton John all sampled previously released songs for some of this year’s biggest hits. A clear sign that sampling plays a vital role in the changing musical landscape. Foolproof for the trends of tomorrow.