Top 10 Most Sampled Reggae Tracks

Of the many Top 10 lists we've featured here over the years, Reggae has been somewhat neglected. Certainly, it's not a genre as frequently associated with sampling culture as say Hip Hop or indeed many forms of dance music, but the practice of recycling musical themes is central to Reggae and in keeping with that tradition, Reggae has yielded a great deal of influence on other genres. The relationship between Reggae and Dub is key to the development of what is now termed 'the remix' and the practice of distributing riddim tracks to multiple vocalists to create versions based on a common theme has also created a unique set of musical connections. Reggae (like almost every style of contemporary music) has been sampled in Hip Hop prompting some interesting fusions, but Reggae arguably stands alone in the influence it has had on dance music sub genres. Drum and Bass, Jungle, Dubstep and arguably even Grime and some strands of Garage all owe a great deal to the Reggae bassline and the soundsystem culture to which it is inextricably connected. On what would have been Bob Marley's 70th birthday (also the anniversary of dub legend King Tubby's death), we explore the Top 10 most sampled records of all time:

10. Mikey Dread - Operator's Choice (sampled 33 times)

Taken from the 'African Anthem' LP, 'Operator's Choice' is a reverb drenched Dub littered with shout outs and drops advertising Mikey Dread aka Mikey Campbell's "Mikey Dread Show". Sandwiched between segments of vocal drops and sound effects including tolling bells and chilling screams, the track became a popular source for DJ scratch samples, used to great effect by the likes of Public Enemy and BDP affiliate D-Nice among many others.

9. Ansel Collins - Stalag 17 (sampled 40 times)

The first classic riddim track to appear in our list, 'Stalag 17', hails from what what many consider to be Reggae and Dub's golden period of the early 1970s. Samples in this case come largely in the form of the many Reggae artists to have voiced or reinterpreted the riddim, among them countless classics including Super Beagle's 'Dust a Sound Bwoy', Tenor Saw's 'Ring the Alarm', and perhaps most famously Sister Nancy's 'Bam Bam'.

8. Cutty Ranks - A Who Seh Me Dun (sampled 40 times)

Itself based on the riddim track from Chaka Demus & Pliers early 90s classic 'Murder She Wrote', it is disproportionately the vocals from the intro of Cutty Ranks' track that are sampled rather than the musical content. The iconic "Six Million Ways to Die" phrase was famously used by Snoop Dogg in the intro to Serial Killa from his seminal debut LP 'Doggy Style' and gave the name and central hook to Funkmaster Flex's 1993 tunnel banger 'Six Million Ways to Die'.

7. Sound Dimension - Real Rock (sampled 42 times)

The second classic riddim track to appear on our list, this 1967 Studio One anthem has been replayed, reworked and voiced by a who's who of Reggae's biggest names including Barrington Levy (more than once) and a 10 year old Beenie Man among countless others.

6. Musical Youth - Pass The Dutchie (sampled 45 times)

Musical Youth are the first act on this list to be based outside Reggae's cultural birthplace, hailing from Birmingham UK. It's also the first and perhaps only track on the list that could accurately be described as a pop hit, hitting the number one spot across the globe on release in 1982. The track is itself a fairly literal cover of The Mighty Diamonds' 'Pass The Koutchie', replacing the weed smoking motif of the original with references to a 'Dutchie' or Dutch cooking pot. The track also borrows vocals from U Brown's 'Gimme The Music'. The catchy hook of this crossover cut has unsurprisingly been appropriated heavily in commercial Hip Hop, in some cases reintroducing the herbal theme of The Mighty Diamonds' original version (see Missy Elliott's 'Pass The Blunt' for example).

5. Mikey Dread - Comic Strip (sampled 46 times)

Another jingle-laden dub from Mikey Dread's 'African Anthem' LP fills our number 5 spot. This cut contains the famous 'Brand new, good for you' and 'You make me feel so good' vocal samples, the latter perhaps most famously used in Coldcut's cut and paste masterpiece of a remix of  Eric B & Rakim's 'Paid in Full'.

4. Wayne Smith - Under Me Sleng Teng (sampled 54 times)

An anthem of the 1980s digital riddim revolution, the Sleng Teng riddim and vocal has seen more varied appropriation than any other track on the list so far, having been sampled in SL2's early 90s crossover rave classic 'Way in My Brain', reworked by Barrington Levy for the equally classic, but more traditional sounding rendition 'Under Mi Sensi', and even sampled by 2 Live Crew in an X-rated Hip Hop rework from the group's controversial 1989 LP 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be' for the unimaginatively titled 'Reggae Joint'.

3. Sister Nancy - Bam Bam (sampled 57 times)

Based on the Stalag 17 riddim (see #9 above), and borrowing vocals from the Maytals track of the same name, Sister Nancy's Bam Bam is arguably the best known of the Stalag vocal cuts. Themes from the track have cropped up in many Reggae cuts over the years and it formed a popular sample source in early 90s hip hop including usage on classics such Main Source's 'Just Hangin' Out' and Pete Rock & CL Smooth's 'The Basement'.

2. Mikey Dread - Saturday Night Style (sampled 64 times)

The third appearance for Mikey Dread in our Top 10 continues much in the theme of the previous two mentioned here. Based largely on Rod Taylor's 'Behold Him', the track is book-ended by a pair of familiar vocal samples including the famous "Brothers and Sisters goodnight, I hope you're feeling alright" and "Oh my gosh, the music just turns me on", the latter also famously used in Coldcut's remix of  Eric B & Rakim's 'Paid in Full' (see #5 above).

1. Dave & Ansel Collins - Double Barrel (sampled 75 times)

Hip Hop is responsible for landing Dave & Ansel Collins 1971 classic at the top of this list, the opening words "I ... am the magnificent" having been adopted for some of hip hop's braggier classics over more than 35 years. The track was particularly heavily sampled in 80s hip hop, Special Ed's aptly titled 'I'm the Magnificent' from 1989 being a classic example and the iconic phrase continues to be sampled on a regular basis through to the present day.

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