Snapback, Akai MPK midi controller

The Defining Sample of the 2010s

By Jason Arline
Music Journalist

Music production these days is greatly simplified with how easy it is to download a digital audio workstation and make a song. Since the same programs are available to everyone, you often encounter the same sounds in different artists’ songs. The music industry is known to be a copycat industry with styles, rhymes and even whole songs being recycled for new music.

Some might see this as unoriginal, but when you see it as different interpretations and implementations of sound it becomes astounding at how many different ways you can flip a sound, sample or style. One such sample that has been used in many songs throughout the 2010s is the MEXFemale sample. It has been officially used 38 times from the span of 2006-2020 according to Whosampled.com. The sound was one of the most used samples of the 2010s and one of the most recognizable as well.

The vocal sound comes from a CD set by Vocal Planet released in 2000. The first artist on record to use the sound was Pharrell Williams in his single “That Girl” off of his album In My Mind which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. However, the sound didn’t become popular until the artist Driiky Graham used it in his song “Snapbacks and Tattoos” which jump-started his career as an artist.

The way Arch The Boss & Hitmaka utilize the sample was fairly simple when you listen to the track. They have it on the downbeat of each measure making it sound like a chant and adding a sense of a hype man in the background doing ad-libs. More recent uses of the sample were in Episode 6 of Producer Kenny Beats “The Cave” series and in the song “T.O.” off of Lil Wayne’s new album Funeral. If you’d like a list of other songs that have utilized the sound visit Whosampled’s website here. The sound is arguably the defining sample of the 2010s based off of how recognizable it is even when people don’t exactly remember where they heard it.

With so much new music coming out these days thanks to the accessibility of production software it’s becoming more frequent to hear songs made up of the same sounds used in others. Hopefully, this doesn’t lead to a repetitive music industry in the future with the possibility of the demand for new sounds not meeting the number of both amateur and professional DJs that use them.

However, with new tools and software being developed every day that push the boundaries of how we manipulate sounds in our productions it’s safe to say that artists will continue to make both new and redefine old sounds for years to come.

Featured image by Jason Arline.

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