Sampleface Five: Thundercat Samples


Thundercat is one of the most creative jazz musicians of the 21st century. We picked 5 samples from his discography.


Thundercat is arguably the funkiest guy with a 6-string bass with a soul bursting with creativity. His discography both with a guitar and as a producer features a list of the finest musicians including Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and George Clinton.

For this edition of Sampleface Five, I’ve taken a look at 5 Thundercat samples, both on his own songs and songs he produced for others, including 1 questionable entry.

1. The Stylistics’s ‘People Make the World Go Round’ sampled on Thundercat’s ‘Lotus and the Jondy’

Thundercat - Lotus and the Jondy
The Stylistics - People Make The World Go Round.

‘People Make the World Go Round’ is one of my favourite piece of recorded sound. It’s the opening wind chime sound that Flying Lotus took for Thundercat’s ‘Lotus and the Jondy’, a track off his 2013 album, Apocalypse.

2. Manzel’s ‘Space Funk’ sampled on Childish Gambino’s ‘II. Shadows’

childish gambino - ii. shadows

Manzel - Space Funk

Next up is Childish Gambino’s ‘II. Shadows’ using the opening reverse sample and drum break from Mazel’s Space Funk. The track is the perfect fit to Childish Gambino’s offbeat style and gave a stylistic glimpse into his future project, “Awaken, My Love!”

3. The Crusaders’s ‘My Lady’ sampled on Mac Miller’s ‘Inside Outside’

RIP Mac Miller. Thundercat produced this track for his 2014 mixtapes, ‘Faces’. As the tape was packed full of psychedelic stuff, who better to have on it than an alumnus from the Parliament School of Funk?

4. The Isley Brothers’s ‘Footsteps in the Dark’ sampled on Thundercat’s ‘Them Changes’

Thundercat - 'Them Changes' (Official Video)

The Isley Brothers - Footsteps in the Dark, Pts. 1 & 2 (Official Audio)

You’ll probably know Footsteps in the Dark as the sample on J Dilla’s ‘Won’t Do’ and Thundercat followed suit by taking the opening drums and giving us a bittersweet rendition about heartbreak. The video is pretty sad too, depicting a black samurai thinking back to his former glories.

5. Daft Punk’s ‘Something About Us’ sampled on ‘A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)’?

Thundercat - 'A Fan's Mail (Tron Song Suite II)'

Daft Punk - Something About Us (Official Audio)

Now, this one is contentious because the submission was rejected by WhoSampled according to one of the commenters. But it sounds quite obvious to me. The outro to A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II) sounds very similar to the intro of Daft Punk’s Something About Us. The notable difference is the gated syncopation on Thundercat’s sample. No idea why it would have been rejected but then I’m still bitter that my submission of Michael Jackson’s Blood on the Dance Floor sampling Indeep’s Last Night A DJ Saved My Life was refused even though the basslines are clearly similar. But I digress.

What are your favourites?

Thundercat samples aren’t in abundance but the five I picked were excellent choices from his back catalogue. Do you have a favourite Thundercat sample? Have you had a submission rejected by WhoSampled? Are you bitter too? Maybe we should start a support group! Let me know in the comments!

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

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