Beneath The Surface: Beats and Samples

Hip-hop, like any art form, can be enjoyed on several levels. For those interested in perhaps its most fundamental level – beat making – there are several sites on the internet worth checking out. Some of my favourites are listed below:

From Da Bricks

Comprehensive and erudite, Dan Love, the author of From Da Bricks, deconstructs and analyzes classic hip-hop beats and the samples they’re based on. Although clearly adept at identifying rare and obscure sample sources, dude really excels at describing, in elaborate detail, how a given beat was constructed. Indeed, his ability to break a beat down into its various composite parts and carefully chart how each of its samples was flipped – often an incredibly difficult task given the sampling mastery of producers like Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Dilla, Diamond D and others – is impressive and worth reading.


This blog features literally hundreds of pages of 30 second clips of sample-based music (some house music is thrown in occasionally for good measure) and their corresponding samples. Although entirely in French, Sampleur-Sample is nevertheless easy to navigate and is a great way to judge for yourself just how well your favourite producer flipped that ill sample.

The Breaks

A huge (I’m guessing the largest) database of beats and samples, The Breaks is the Guinness Book of World Records of beat making – anytime you’re having an argument about who 9th Wonder used for that new banger or how many times James Brown has really been sampled, head over to the The Breaks and discover the truth.

Phat Drum Loops

As its name suggests, this site is an online repository of classic drum breaks. No samples here folks, just raw, funky-ass drum loops. Even better, they’re all free and there’s no ads or banners. For those producers looking for authentic drum samples, you’re welcome.

Of course, this list represents just a fraction of the fantastic resources available on the internet for diggers and beat makers. I’ll keep adding as I find more; but just like flipping though dusty crates for elusive vinyl, half the fun is discovering new gems for yourself.

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