Behind the Beat: Our Favorite Samples Used By Chicago Producers in 2017


Production sampling has always been an important staple in Chicago, from Kanye West to No ID, and almost every local producer in between. Some of the best producers to ever come out of Chicago utilized samples to make hits over the years. 2017 was no different, as many local beat artists found diamonds in the rough to create songs that will be in rotation for years. The following is a compilation of some of our favorite examples of next - level sampling out of Chicago in 2017.

Chi’s Interlude - Femdot (Prod. by charleslauste)

Sample: "Return of the Mack" - Mark Morrison

Using well-known samples often takes immense courage by the producer, as they have to balance  keeping the original track fresh, while simultaneously flipping it for their own song. Producer Charles Lauste accomplished this, taking one of the most well known songs in music history with “Return Of The Mack”and slowing it down to set the stage for Femdot to go crazy on.

Ricky Millions - Smino (Prod. by Monte Booker & J. Bird)

Sample: "My Boo" - Ghost Town DJ’s

The rejuvenated hit “My Boo” from So-So Def Recordings' Ghost DJ’s had quite the 2016, with fans losing their minds like it was still 1996. Monte Booker, J. Bird, Smino and Drea Smith decided to continue the momentum of this track into 2017 and paid homage by spinning the track for Ricky Millions. Monte and J. Bird slow the tempo down on the sample and Smino’s adds his own twist to the original hook to make this smooth track.

4:44 (the song) - Jay-Z (Prod. by No ID)

Sample: "Late Nights and Heartbreak" - Hannah Williams

One of the Chicago OG’s of sampling, No-ID, had a standout 2017 playing a part in Jay-Z’s album 4:44 that landed him multiple grammy nominations.  His sampling skills were on display throughout the whole album, shining the brightest on the 4:44 title track, where he used the sample from Hannah Williams and the Affirmations to bring out the authentic heartbreak Hov portrays over the track.

TV Dinner - The Cool Kids (Prod. by Chuck English)

Sample: "Mary Jane" - Rick James

One of the local highlights of 2017 was the return of The Cool Kids, who released their long awaited album Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe. As always, producer Chuck Inglish beats shined throughout the project.  Specifically on “Tv Dinner”,  where Chuck sampled the infamous “Look at ya” phrase off his song “Mary Jane” mixing it perfectly with the other elements of the beat for one of the best songs on the album.

Crown - G Herbo feat. Bump J (prod. By DJL)

Sample: "I Shall Wear a Crown" - Thomas Whitfield

The resurgence and welcoming back of Bump J to the Chicago music scene was the best 2017 Chicago storyline. Amidst dropping many solo tracks,  he decided to link up with G Herbo for his Humble Beast album and created a hit. With this star studded lineup the real person who stole the show was producer DJ L, who utilized Thomas Whitfield’  song “I Shall Wear A Crown” to create a Godlike beat to set the stage for each rapper to go off.

Heaven on Earth - Vic Mensa feat. The Dream (Prod. by Papi Beatz and Smoko Ono)

Sample: "Lamb" - Heaven

Long time collaborators Smoko Ono and Papi Beatz teamed up with Vic Mensa again this summer for one of the best story telling tracks of the year. Together they sampled “Heaven” by Lamb, using the eerie elements of that track to bring out the emotion of Vic’s story for one of most chilling tracks of the year.

Doves in the Wind - Sza feat. Kendrick Lamar (Prod. by Cam O’bi)


"Turn Me Up Some" - Busta Rhymes | "Let’s Get Dirty" - Redman | "Louisiana Blues" - Climax Blues Band

2017 was a breakout year for SZA with her critically acclaimed album CTRL., Chicago had its impact all over the project with local musicians Stix and Carter Lang on multiple tracks. Along with them, she also selected Chicago producer Cam O'bi for the album, who produced the track “Doves in the wind” featuring Kendrick Lamar. Cam’s sampling skills were next level on this track with him mixing three songs together from “Turn Me Up Some” by Busta Rhymes, “Let’s Get Dirty” by Redman, and utilizing the drums off of Climax Blues Band track “Louisiana Blues”. Each piece comes together flawlessly to create a track that will likely go down as a classic off this album.

Riverdale Rd - 2 Chainz (Prod. by Mano)

Sample: "Who U Wit" - Lil Jon and Eastside Boyz

Arguably one of the hottest producers over the past few years, Mano has been putting out hits alongside the Weeknd for “The Hills”, “Reminder” and more. He followed this momentum in 2017 by linking up with 2 Chainz for the song “Riverdale Rd”. On this track Mano samples “Who U Wit” by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz and mixes it with a hard bass for 2Chainz to float all over the song.

Never Mind - Saga feat. The Mind (Prod. by Thelonious Martin)

Sample: "Doggone" - Love

Notorious sample producer Thelonious Martin put in work in 2017, particularly his collab project alongside Brooklyn Rapper Saga. The highlight of his production comes to fruition on the song “Never Mind” which also features Chicago artist TheMind. On this song Martin samples “Doggone” by Love adding his own spin to it to allow both artists to do their thing.

 Play4Keeps - Musa Reems (Produced by Curbside Jones)

Sample: "I Know What Love’s All About" - Anthony Hamilton

Musa Reems has been on his grind this year, dropping his album “Lately I’ve Been Sol Searching” in the second half of 2017. The highlight of the project is on the song “Play4keeps” where producer Curbside Jones mixes “I Know What Loves About” by Anthony Hamilton” perfectly for Musa to drop bars all over.