After Kanye West released The Life of Pablo, we've spent our time picking the album apart piece by piece just to see what went into making an album that 'Ye's referred to as one of the greatest ever. Besides breaking down everyone included on his notepad prior to release, and looking at the full credits to determine who's who, we also wanted to take a look at the samples used throughout the album.
“Ultralight Beam” f/ Chance the Rapper & Kirk Franklin
- "Ultralight Beam" doesn't sample any existing songs, but Kanye did bite a clip of this adorable four-year-old girl off of Instagram for the intro.
“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” f/ Kid Cudi
- "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barnett: Of all of the samples on The Life of Pablo this track was the easiest to track down as a source sample as it lends its name to both the second and third song on the album. Pastor T.L. Barnett himself opens West's song with a true soul-stirring verse.
“Pt. 2” f/ Desiigner
- "Panda" by Desiigner: Not only does the most recent signee to G.O.O.D. Music get a feature on this track, West also decided to use a sample of his 2015 single "Panda" as well.
“Famous” f/ Rihanna
- "Do What You Gotta Do" by Nina Simone: It's hard to imagine that there's a bigger fan out there of Nina Simone than Kanye West. This is the fourth time he's sampled her work for one of his albums after using her voice before on "Blood on the Leaves," the Watch the Throne track, "New Day," and "Bad News" from 808s & Heartbreak.
- "Bam Bam" by Sister Nancy: A funky reggae/soul fusion track that adds a different flavor to this song's bridge.
- "Mi Sono Svegliato E... Ho Chiuso Gli Occhi" by Il Rovescio della Medaglia: A 1973 classical Italian passage, and far and away one of the most obscure samples in West's oeveure.
“Highlights” f/ Young Thug
“Freestyle 4” f/ Desiigner
- "Human" by Goldfrapp: West snatched the menacing, ominous sounding solo violin sound from this beginning of this song and built pretty much all of "Freestyle 4" around it. Chills to the bone.
“I Love Kanye”
“Waves” f/ Chris Brown
“FML” f/ The Weeknd
- "Hit" by Section 25: Section 25 was an obscure Post-Punk English band. This track "Hit" is listed as the seventh track of the group's 1981 debut, Always Now.
“Real Friends” f/ Ty Dolla $ign
- "Friends" by Whodini: West is far from the first hip-hop artist to snag elements from this song by Whodini to create something of his own. The song has been sampled many times before, most prominently by Nas for "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)," Tupac for "Troublesome '96," and Dr. Dre for "A Nigga Wit a Gun."
"Wolves” f/ Frank Ocean & Caroline Shaw
“Silver Surfer Intermission”
- No sample here, but c'mon, shout out to Max B for making an appearance and keeping things wavy.
- "Answers Me" by Arthur Russell: A truly creepy sounding song in the first place, West chops apart the songs opening seconds to create the backbone to his own brooding and forbidding self-reflection.
“No More Parties in LA” f/ Kendrick Lamar
- "Suzie Thundertussy" by Walter "Junie" Morrison: Taken from the 1976 album Suzie Super Groupie, this track provides the true, funky bedrock of "No More Parties in LA."
- "Give Me My Love" by Johnny "Guitar" Watson: Searching for the song's catchy "la-di-da-da" opener? Well look no further than in the opening seconds of this 1977 song by the man that they called Guitar.
- "Stand Up and Shout About Love" by Larry Graham: Leave it to Kanye West to end a song by sampling a track by none other than Drake's very own uncle, the great Larry Graham.
- "Mighty Healthy" by Ghostface Killah: This sample of Ghostface Killah rapping the line, "Shake that body/Party that body," should be familiar to anyone who's heard West's Cruel Summer track "New God Flow."
“Facts (Charlie Heat Version)”
- "Dirt and Grime" by Father's Children: One of the best, if not the best part, about this Nike diss track is the sped up use of this 1989 soulful deep cut for the song's intro and coda.
"Fade” f/ Post Malone & Ty Dolla $ign
- "(I Know) I'm Losing You" by Rare Earth: '70s blues rockers Rare Earth are one of the last entries you'd imagine on a Kanye West song, but the reverberating line "Your love is fading/I feel it fade" makes for a perfect accent piece to this track.
- "Mystery of Love" by Fingers Inc.: One of the all-time great sample bass lines, "Mystery of Love" gives "Fade" the perfect foundation to build upon.
- "I Get Lifted" by Barbara Tucker: A swanky house piece, Tucker's song lends "Fade" its signature club feeling.