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by Rachel Devitt

March 23, 2014

Pop Samples the World

by Rachel Devitt  |  March 23, 2014

"Been around the world, don't speak the language/ But your booty don't need explaining." Truer words were never spoken, were they? OK, all right, the lyrics to Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" aren't exactly a philosophy to live by (not entirely, anyway). But the song, which hinges on a killer sample of Balkan Beat Box's electro-Gypsy groove "Move It," does encompass one of our favorite trends in pop music: the sampling of global songs, sounds and artists. It's trite and, honestly, kind of offensive to say that music is the universal language. But there is something to be said for the way a song in a language you don't speak or an artist from a tradition you know nothing about can really move you -- and your booty. Picking up on a long-standing pop musical tradition of cultural exchange and "borrowing," the artists on this playlist all incorporated some bit of an international sound/song/artist (be it sampled or newly recorded) in their pop hit. Marc Anthony's "Vivir Mi Vida" samples Algerian rai singer Khaled, Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" famously interpolated bhangra (part of Timbaland's long "Indian" period), Jay Z's "Big Pimpin'" was built on Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy's "Khusara Khusara," and on and on around the globe. We even tossed in a few classic examples, like Simon and Garfunkel's borrowing of a traditional Andean folk melody for "El Condor Pasa."

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