The New York rap scene has a new formula that’s making songs go viral every day.
The art of taking a classic song and transmuting it to fit a new era through sampling has been a staple in hip-hop production for decades, but now the New York drill scene is experiencing its own sample renaissance. We’ve entered the sample drill era.
Sample drill is a subsect of New York drill, and it’s been bubbling over the last two years. As the name suggests, the subgenre pairs classic samples with New York drill’s signature bass-heavy production, to create a nostalgic-yet-modern sound. By flipping easily recognizable hits, like Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” or James Brown’s “Georgia on My Mind,” the songs are digestible and catchy, with plenty of viral appeal. TikTok has played a big role in the explosion of sample drill, with many tracks being used as the soundtrack for viral trends, and now the movement has caught the attention of mainstream stars like Cardi B, who jumped on the remix for fellow Bronx rapper Kay Flock’s sample drill song “Shake It.”
Young drill artists like Kay Flock, B-Lovee, Shawny Binladen, and more have been pivotal in pushing sample drill forward over the last few years. One of the biggest songs that have emerged from the scene thus far is B-Lovee’s “My Everything.” Produced by Cash Cobain, the song samples Mary J. Blige’s “Everything,” and it’s been used over 400,000 times on TikTok and has garnered two remixes featuring A Boogie and G Herbo.
Explaining how he gained a deep understanding of the throwback music that he samples, Cash Cobain tells Complex, “I grew up with my mother, my grandmother, my whole family. We all love music, so I just know music from when they were young. That’s [music] from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, I know all of that shit. All of that music was embedded into me, so when it’s time to make songs, I already know this shit.”
Sample has become one of the most popular music movements coming out of New York City, and there’s a high ceiling on its future, with a group of impressive young artists leading the way. Here’s a crash course on the bubbling subgenre.