The 10 Most Well-Known Techno Samples in Rap Tracks

Techno has been around since the 1980s. It's roots are entrenched in Detroit, but the sound has spawned many different takes on the sound worldwide. T

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Complex Original

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Techno has been around since the 1980s. It's roots are entrenched in Detroit, but the sound has spawned many different takes on the sound worldwide. The funny part about techno, and dance music in general, is that many forms have American roots, but most Americans don't realize that point - even when it's sitting right in their face.

From Afrika Bambaataa's classic "Planet Rock" to singles from Busta Rhymes, techno is an oft-sampled genre for many smart hip-hop producers, and some of your favorite tracks, be they underground mainstays or Billboard-charting singles, have borrowed from this American-made sound. Let's take a look at the 10 most well-known techno samples in rap tracks, whether you immediately recognized them or not.

Danny Brown - "Whatupdoe"

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Original SampleModel 500 - "Night Drive (Thru Babylon)"

Fool's Gold man-of-the-moment (and blogosphere sensation) Danny Brown released this track on his debut album/mixtape Hot Soup in 2008. Created by G-Unit and Underground Resistance beatmaker Nick Speed, this tune became a hit in Detroit clubs and on the radio, mainly for the greeting used by anyone from Detroit - not to mention the tune being a banger, of course. Speed made sure to pay homage to the original creators toward the end of the track by speeding it up to the original tempo for a brief moment.

Fun Fact: Model 500 is one of the many monikers of Juan Atkins, who is known as one of the godfathers of Techno.

Missy Elliott ft. Ciara - "Lose Control"

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Original Sample: Cybotron - "Clear"

Missy Elliott’s production (often with fellow Virginia producer Timbaland) is mainly geared directly toward the dancefloor, so it’s no surprise that she took one of the most well-known electro tunes and b-boy staples outside of "Planet Rock," called in Ciara and Fatman Scoop to give it the extra hype, and made it into a hit. Cybotron is also the group that started Juan Atkins’ career in 1980, and his contribution as a co-writer on the Missy Elliot track earned him a Grammy nomination for "Best New Song".

Slum Village - "Raise It Up"

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Original Sample: Thomas Bangalter – "Extra Dry"

The late and legendary James “J Dilla” Yancey has a highly extensive catalog of works, writing tracks beats for Erykah Badu, Common, and Janet Jackson (“Got Til It’s Gone”), and was the sole producer for Detroit-gone-worldwide outfit Slum Village. In the tune, Dilla slows the french house track down to make it less of a dance tune more of a throw-your-hands-up street anthem.

The story about how this track opened new doors for Dilla is equally impressive: Thomas Bangalter is ½ of a "little" duo known as Daft Punk. When they heard this track, instead of being litigious, as many people seem to be nowadays – they contacted him, and let hin know they were big fans of his. That very interaction led to the Slum Village remix of "Aerodynamic" for Daft’s 2002 release Daft Club.

Pitbull - "Hotel Room"

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Original Sample: Nightcrawlers – "Push The Feeling On"

Also know as “Mr. International," Pitbull’s main sound lately has been recycling tracks from '90s dance music hits, and this one is no exception. Released in 1992 on the 4th and B’Way label (Island), the version that you’ve heard at every wedding and nightclub in the 90s was actually the remix, done by Kevin Saunderson protégé and remixing don Marc “MK” Kinchen. Pitbull’s usage of the track actually scored Kinchen an opportunity to work with the Miami entertainer on a few tracks (see "Dance With You") and – wait for it – a remix of "Hotel Room."

Pitbull - "Calle Ocho (I Know You Want Me)"

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Original Sample: Nicola Fasano vs. Pat Rich - "75 Brazil Street"

Original Original Sample: Bucketheads – "The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)"

It’s the same formula as the last slide – take a hit dance song, add lyrics and a few shouts from the track's producer Lil’ Jon, beef up a few frequencies here and there and voila, a hit Pitbull song. Both the Pitbull and Fasano tracks used a house music classic, and many in the millennial age range can say that “The Bomb!” was one of their first musical journeys into dance music.

Fun Fact: Your word of the day is mondegreen. Definition – a mishearing or misinterpretation of a word or phrase that gives it a new meaning. The infamous hook on the Bucketheads sample that has been recited wrong SO many times is from the song “Street Player” by the band Chicago. The vocal actually says: “Street sounds swirling through my mind.”

Sir Mix-A-Lot - "Baby Got Back"

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Original Sample: Channel One – "Technicolor"

What more can be said that already has been about the official anthem of the derriere? This track uses the classic techno tune as the driving beat behind Mix-A-Lot’s production, while he proceeds to speak the good word about his preference for the culo grande.

If you’ve been reading this list from the beginning, there’s been a pretty noticeable trend – there are a lot of Detroit artists in this list, and once again, Juan Atkins takes it – Channel One is another name he used for a release on his Metroplex label.

Wiz Khalifa - "Say Yeah"

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Original Sample: Alice Deejay – "Better Off Alone"

The producer of this track, Johnny Juliano, takes the main synth of the eurodance hit and adds booming 808s and claps, while Wiz chats about his material possessions and the flinging of currency in the discoteque.

Fun Fact: Alice Deejay is not one DJ/producer -- there are eight producers in the entire outfit, with Judith Pronk as the main vocalist of the group (insert “how many producers does it take to make a hit dance tune” joke here). Two of the members of this now disbanded group (Eelke Kalberg and Sebastiaan Molijn) went on to form Dash Berlin; the group's DJ holds the current title of being the seventh most popular DJ in the world.

Kanye West ft. John Legend - "Blame Game"

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Original Sample: Aphex Twin – "Avril 14th"

Call it taking an artistic license (legally of course), but 'Ye lifts the entire melody and uses it as a canvas for this slow brooding ballad. Adding stripped-down percussion, Kanye uses the chilled-out piano melody to explore his complicated feelings towards his relationships. The literal "love-hate" aspect sang by Legend makes this track resonate with the people, and the choice to sample IDM is a great one.

Busta Rhymes - "Touch It"

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Original Sample: Daft Punk – "Technologic"

Around the mid-2000s, hip-hop was doing a bit of experimentation with melding trunk-rattling drums and bass with techno samples, and Swizz Beatz jumped right on the hit train, pulling this vocal from Daft Punk’s third studio album, Human After All, to make this runner of a track. The call and response that Busta uses on his vocals make the track almost seem like a cyborg with split personalities, quietly whispering in an alien girl’s ear, then suddenly firing off his lyrical laser at the crown. Sounds like a great Friday night, honestly.

Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force – Planet Rock

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Original Samples: Kraftwerk – "Trans-Europe Express" and "Numbers"

While the original production only interpolated this work (and saw an out-of-court settlement with the German outfit and Tommy Boy Records), it’s safe to say that the originators of what would we would know as “electronic music” today were definitely paid fitting tribute in the song that personified hip-hop culture in the 1980s. The influence of Kraftwerk Bambaata influence would then inspire a group of three men from Belleville, Michigan by the names of Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson to create the genre we now know as techno.  To simply call this song historic would be a bold understatement.

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