Japanese music has had a significant influence on Western music, pop culture, and vice versa. Due to its impact, producers have scoured decades of Japanese music for samples and the results have been sublime. This edition of Sampleface Five looks at 5 Japanese music samples and it was hard to narrow it down.
1. Slum Village – Climax (Girl Shit)
Sample: Clair De Lune by Isao Tomita
This track gives me chills and, on a good day, brings me to tears. And J Dilla allegedly made it in 10-20 minutes (correct me if I’m wrong in the comments). The genius levels were off the chain between the original artist, Isao Tomita, and the sampling producer. Tomita is a well-known musician amongst samplers and his work has been chopped and looped by many including Waajeed.
2. Curren$y and The Alchemist – Full Metal
Sample: Tsumi by Michiru Oshima
Full Metal Alchemist is my favourite anime so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Alchemist sampled a composition from its soundtrack on Curren$y’s ‘Full Metal‘. It’s bombastic, grandiose, and a perfect use of a majestic string arrangement.
3. Find a Way – A Tribe Called Quest
Another classic produced by J Dilla, this time for A Tribe Called Quest. This is more than just a few loops; Dilla shifted the rhythm and threw his signature drums and bass and turned into a R&B groove.
4. De La Soul feat. Mos Def – Big Brother Beat
Sample: Computer Game (Theme From the Circus) by Yellow Magic Orchestra
Just a few beeps were enough for Skeff Anselm to craft a great beat for De La Soul on ‘Big Brother Beat‘. ‘Computer Game‘ has been sampled on at least 10 other tracks from the likes of The Ragga Twins, Fast Eddie, and Quadrophonia.
5. Trey Songz – Can’t Be Friends
Samples: Bibo No Aozora by Ryuichi Sakamoto
It’s not just hip hop producers using Japanese music samples. Mario Winans sampled Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Bibo No Aozora‘ for ‘Can’t Be Friends‘ by Trey Songz and it works really well. It retains the somber mood of the original but adds a simple R&B rhythm over the top. It was released in 2010 and, if you can remember what R&B sounded like back then, you’ll know this fitted right in. Dem drums!