Sample Genealogy

Many songs that are out today use little audio segments or samples from other songs. I was able to find some surprising examples of this through One of the cases that shocked me the most was with one of Ed Sheeran’s new songs that just came out last month. The song “Shape of You” is all over the radio now. For reference, this song can be found below-

Ed Sheeran utilized a sample from TLC’s song “No Scrubs”. That song can also be found below-

The two have very different melodies and I did not notice the sample that was used the first time I listened to the two songs. But, it appears 30 seconds into “Shape of You” and 42 seconds into “No Scrubs” and runs throughout both songs. It is used in the background and is likely not to be noticed or recognized by those who just hear the songs on the radio. It adds to the background texture and is layered in with the other sounds.


Many songs also use another method where they will plug in song lyrics from other well known, older songs. A very popular example of this is in J. Cole’s song “Work Out” where he interjects a line of lyrics from a Paula Abdul hit, “Straight Up”. J Cole uses lyrics from Abdul’s chorus in one of his verses later in the song.


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