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Sunday Night Sample - Jay - Z - Heart Of The City

A notable example of a hip-hop song that uses an obscure sample is "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)" by Jay-Z, produced by Kanye West. The track samples the song "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" by Bobby "Blue" Bland, a soulful and somewhat under-the-radar track from the 1970s. While Bobby "Blue" Bland is a respected figure in the blues and soul genres, his work isn't widely recognized in the mainstream, making this sample a deep cut that Kanye West ingeniously repurposed. 

SAMPLE - Bobby "Blue" Bland - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City

The sample's melancholic melody and emotional depth provide a perfect backdrop for Jay-Z's introspective lyrics on fame, love, and resilience in the face of adversity, showcasing the power of integrating obscure samples into new musical contexts. 

This track is a prime example of Kanye's signature approach to sampling and beat-making during the early 2000s, a period when he was shaping the soundscape of hip-hop. 

On this track, West's production prowess shines through his use of the sample from Bobby "Blue" Bland's soulful record. Kanye isolated and looped a poignant portion of the original song, particularly leveraging the melancholy essence of Bland's vocals to set a reflective mood.

West's technique involves pitching down the sample, adding depth and texture to the track while retaining its emotional resonance. The loop serves as the backbone of the song, around which he skillfully layers minimalist but effective drum patterns. These drums, characterized by their crisp snares and steady kick drums, are hallmark Kanye, offering a rhythmic foundation that complements Jay-Z's flow without overshadowing the sample's natural groove.

His finishing touches were subtle instrumental flourishes, like soft piano riffs and strategic use of bass lines, that enrich the track's sonic landscape without cluttering it. 

For a long time, there were very few things better than Jay Z on a Kanye beat.

Bonus - Here's the version he performed on MTV's Unplugged. (One of the best things MTV ever did with artists across all genres). This unplugged performance Jay Z put on with the band from The Roots turned out so great that it was one of MTV's best-selling Unplugged album releases.