Sampleface Five: Marvin Gaye Samples

Blurred Lines might be the most popular and controversial Marvin Gaye sampled-track but there have been plenty more. We picked five.

One of the biggest singles of 2013 carried with it a fair amount of controversy. Blurred Lines was a staple on every medium from the jump and while the sexist lyricism did little to deter most listeners, the issues surrounding the use of Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up continued for months, to the point where Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and TI actually took legal action out against the Gaye family, who claimed plagiarism in the first place. Messiness aside, it has perhaps taken away from the fact that there have been a whole load more Marvin songs sampled by other producers so we thought we’d show you five of the 500+ (that we know about).

1.  Common’s Love Is… sample of Marvin Gaye’s God Is Love

Common - Love Is... (Prod. J Dilla)

Dilla aficionados might know this beat from his infamously bootlegged Beat CD ’05 #1 but Common chose it for his sixth album Be. The original saw Marvin give a loving dedication to God and the heavenly context was transferred into both the lyrics and the smoothness of the beat.

2.  Kanye West’s Spaceship (feat. GLC and Consequence) sample of Marvin Gaye’s Distant Lover

Kanye West - Spaceship [The Real Official Video]
Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye

Before the darkness infiltrated his soul and music, Kanye West made a name for himself with his sped up soul chops and on his influential debut, The College Dropout, he chose Gaye’s Distant Lover as the main sample for Spaceship. Keeping it 6/8 was also a nice touch, considering the tendencies for producers to switch into an easier 4/4.

3.  De La Soul’s With Me sample of Marvin Gaye’s After The Dance

With me by De La Soul
Marvin Gaye - After the Dance

It’d be sacrilegious not to have De La Soul in a list of any samples and their sample of After The Dance is surely worth including. The hip hop trio slowed down the original into a modern groove further establishing their longevity, penchant for amazing samples and maintaining their integrity.

4.  Jackie Mittoo’s Fancy Pants sample of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On

Jackie Mittoo - Fancy Pants

Clement Seymour “Sir Coxsone” Dodd was a major force in reggae, ska and rocksteady production in the 50s, 60s and 70s and despite some shady business dealings which inadvertently lead to the forming of The Wailers, his “Studio One sound” became influential in Jamaica. For Fancy Pants, Jackie Mitoo (musical director of Studio One) extracted elements from Marvin’s iconic What’s Going On and rearranged them into a gorgeous dusty reggae number.

5.  Robin Thicke’s Make U Love Me sample of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You

Marvin Gaye - I Want You (1976)

What, Robin Thicke again?! Indeed it would seem Mr Thicke has an obsession with the late “Prince of Soul”. Perhaps he’s after that title himself (not happening) but on Make U Love Me, he took a part of the chorus from I Want You for the middle section and lo and behold ran into trouble in a newer lawsuit from the Gaye family

Hi, it's Luke, the editor of Sampleface! Why not subscribe to my Patreon and support the blog?

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