Popular Samples in Rap Music: Songs Sampling “Impeach the President”
In music, sampling is taking part of a song and using it as part of the drumbeat, melody, or an instrument to another song. Sampling first gained a tad bit of popularity with the rise of electronic dance music and disco in the 1970s and ’80s, but at that same time, hip-hop really became thee sampling genre from then on, as it originated from New York block parties in the ’70s where DJ’s would entertain crowds with only two turntables, a mixer, and a rapper rapping into a mic.
Producers, especially in hip-hop, use a wide range of samples, but one of the most commonly used songs sampled in music from the last 30 years is “Impeach the President” by The Honey Drippers. This 1973 funk protest song had its sections—mainly its introductory drums—used in other songs from the 1980s to the 2010s (so far).
Let’s examine some songs that used the “Impeach” sample.
MC Shan – The Bridge (1986)
With this song, producer Marley Marl chops up the introductory drumbeat of “Impeach” to make his original pattern for MC Shan’s classic jam celebrating Queensbridge. It also starts off with Marley Marl saying, “Ladies and gentlemen,” much like “Impeach.”
Eric B and Rakim – Eric B is President (1986)
It’s hard to hear the same drumbeat of “Impeach” in this ’80s hip-hop classic, because producer Marley Marl only used the kick and snare from “Impeach” to layer under pieces of James Brown’s “Funky President” and the bass line of Fonda Rae’s “Over Like A Fat Rat.” (It’s also interesting how this song samples both “Impeach the President” and “Funky President,” and it’s called “Eric B is President.”)
LL Cool J – Around the Way Girl (1990)
Also produced by Marley Marl, this song contains the “Impeach” drumbeat un-chopped and looped underneath a smooth melody and a layered snare and kick from Mary Jane Girls “All Night Long.”
Kris Kross – Jump (1992)
Underneath a sped-up sample of “Funky Worm” by the Ohio Players, you’ll hear the drumloop from “Impeach.” (And if you’re not “jumping” one you hear this early ’90s classic, you either have bad taste in music or realize, hey, it’s 2018 and I’d look weird. Haha.)
The Notorious BIG – Unbelievable (1994)
Unlike “Eric B Is President” and “The Bridge,” the drums from “Impeach” are easily recognizable in this Biggie classic, as producer DJ Premiere must have chopped a slightly wider range than just the drums.
Alanis Morissette – You Learn (1996)
It wasn’t just hip-hop that used the “Impeach” sample. Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette uses rock-based instruments like guitars to layer the famous “Impeach” drumloop here.
Nas – I Can (2003)
For Nas’s most inspirational track, producer Salaam Remi loops the whole one-bar loop of “Impeach the President” underneath instrumentation of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.”
50 Cent – In My Hood (2005)
The drums from “Impeach” are chopped up and reminiscent of Biggie’s “Unbelievable.”
DJ Green Lantern – Impeach the President (2006)
Rappers Saigon, M-1, Just Blaze, and Immortal Technique use more samples than just the drumbeat of “Impeach” to voice their distaste for then-president George W. Bush.
Asher Roth – I Love College (2009)
Some layered drums and guitar chords can be heard drowning out, uh, some song from the ’70s about hating president Nixon or something, in this classic anthem for your love of university. (Shoutout to a fellow WCU alum.)
Joey Bada$$ – Don’t Quit Your Day Job (2013)
The drumbeat of “Impeach” can still be heard in this decade’s music. Joey Bada$$ uses it in 2013, dissing rapper Lil B over a melody with some veeeery familiar drums you should know about now.
J Cole – Wet Dreamz (2015)
J Cole produces this track with the classic introductory drumloop of “Impeach” under a melody from “Mariya” by Family Circle. J Cole is not the first to use the Family Circle sample. The Game “Like Father Like Son” anyone??? It’s got a great chord progression.
NOW YOU KNOW
…a few of the many samples of Honey Drippers “Impeach the President”.
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