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This 1982 Hip Hop Track Is The Most Sampled Song In Music History

change the beat

Calling all hip hop fanatics!

Exploring the origin story and evolution of hip hop, HBO Canada and Canadian filmmaker Darby Wheeler have teamed up to bring you the original documentary series, Hip Hop Evolution. While you wait for the September 4 premiere, we thought we’d pick up the mic and spit a few hip hop facts at you in the meantime.

Ever heard of “Change the Beat” by Fab 5 Freddy and Beside? No? Joke’s on you, because yes, yes you have.

Turns out, the underground 1982 track is actually the most sampled song of all time. Accredited with over 1800 samples, “Change the Beat” has been used across all genres.

Recorded in Brooklyn under the label Celluloid, the “Change the Beat” 12″ single features two different versions of the song. The Side A version features Fab 5 Freddy rapping in English and French interchangeably, using a vocoder to add a robotic effect to his vocals. Side B of the single is performed by the French female MC, Beside, who raps the song entirely in French.

According to WhoSampled, the attraction current-day musicians have to this OG hip hop song is the five second scratch and voice sample that’s heard near the end of Beside’s version.

Around the 3:37 mark when the beat cuts out, Fab 5 Freddy uses the vocoder to say, “Ahhhh, this stuff is really fresh.” The warped and distinctive sound heard specifically on the “ahh” and “fresh” are common industry starting points for many producers today.

Beginning as early as 1983, there are an array of popular songs that have sampled Fab 5 Freddy’s famous beat. Take a listen to a few of them below. There might be (read: there 100 per cent is) a track you recognize.

“Thrift Shop” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Sample Time: 2:00

“Boyz-n-the-Hood” – Eazy-E

Sample Time: 1:38

“Right Here” – Justin Bieber

Sample Time: 0:00 and throughout

“I’m A Slave 4 U” – Britney Spears

Sample Time: 1:42

“Don’t Stop The Party” – Pitbull

Sample Time: 0:32 and throughout

“Cure for the Itch” – Linkin Park

Sample Time: 0:25

“Girls Dem Sugar” – Beenie Man

Sample Time: 0:10


Be sure to tune into Hip Hop Evolution, premiering Sunday, September 4 at 9ET on HBO Canada. Check out the trailer here.