“Hi, hi, hi…”
Perhaps you’re listening to Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” and notice this little vocal sound behind every snare hit. It’s subtle, but it can be heard time and time again in other tracks by the likes of DRAM and Lil Uzi Vert. In One Shots, we dissect influential sounds used across genres and decades. In today’s installment, let’s explore the “Hi” sample from Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz’ “Who U Wit.” Hear it below:
Trap’s origins lay in the music of prominent Southern rappers and producers like Lil Jon and Mannie Fresh. Their respective genres (crunk and bounce) developed the electronic elements that define trap music today, from layered 909 snares and claps to the distinctive 808 sub bass. It was only natural that early trap pioneers like Lex Luger and Southside would incorporate elements of crunk into their beats. The intro to Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz’ “Who U Wit” features the “Hi” sound front-and-center, paired alongside a hi-hat. Below, let’s explore a few other songs that borrow this iconic vocal.
Drake – “Started from The Bottom”
One of the most well-known examples that sampled “Who U Wit” is Drake’s 2013 hit, “Started from The Bottom.” Though it’s a subtle little sound, it provides a bit of flair and variation to the beat so it doesn’t feel so much like a loop. Adding these sorts of one-shots can add the touches that propel a track forward. Hear it at the 0:50 mark on the offbeats.
2 Chainz – “I’m Different”
A year prior to “Started from The Bottom,” 2 Chainz dropped “I’m Different,” the 2012 classic that also features the “Hi” sample. It’s utilized as a percussive element in this track – hear it at multiple points starting at the 0:33 mark. Like Drake, 2 Chainz uses the sample to give the track its bump and forward motion.
Lil Uzi Vert – “Sanguine Paradise”
We have no idea when we’ll get to hear Uzi’s future masterpiece Eternal Atake, but we do know we can hear just a bit of “Who U Wit” at the 1:32 mark of “Sanguine Paradise” (and throughout the rest of the track).
DRAM – “Cha Cha”
Little known fact: the loop in “Cha Cha” is actually a sample of the Star Road theme in Super Mario Land. On top of this interpolation is a tiny fragment of the “Hi” sample – hear it 15 seconds into the track.
The impact of sampling
What’s interesting about Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz’ “Hi” sample is its ubiquity – why do so many producers opt to use it? Could it be its origins in early Lex Luger kits, or trap producers playing homage to the genre’s crunk roots? Regardless, this sound is a testament to sampling’s power to transcend genres, decades, and generations – a tiny little vocal that ties all of these different acts together.
Want to hear more tracks that use this sample by the likes of Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, Smokepurpp, and more? Check out our Spotify playlist below, and stay tuned for more installments of One Shots, our deep dive on music’s most iconic samples.
May 30, 2019