During an argument with DJ Capital and Kwesta recorded for episode 4 of AKA’s Life On The Road web series, AKA can be heard saying ”You guys were inspired by me to make that song, don’t lie, are you saying no ways? I am not the pioneer of that style? You telling me I didn’t invent that style? You cats are crazy! Yo, I created that style!” as the squad laughs in the background.
AKA has a point, he was one of the first hip-hop artists to sample House music on his hip hop songs. Sample based hip-hop is almost as old as the genre itself, and South African hip-hop is no different.
AKA has a long history of sampling legendary house songs and to the same extent classic old skool hits, creating a new sound that has gone on to inspire a string of career hit records.
In November 2011, soon after dropping his debut album Altar Ego, AKA dropped his third single off the album, Bang featuring Khuli Chana. The record sampled Bootsy’s Rubber Band’s nostalgic I’d Rather Be With You.
A year later, AKA dropped Jealousy as the first single off of his sophomore album Levels. Jealousy, an uptempo smash-hit sampled French DJ and producer Martin Solveig’s Defected released single with the same title. Jealousy would become a catalyst for the rest of his sample based production.
The following year, AKA would team up with Da L.E.S to give us Kontrol, the second single off of Levels. Kontrol contains a sample of Mma We by South African legendary house DJ Mbuso and Jerah.
Produced by Muzart band member Tazzy, chart-topping Congratulate sampled Harrison Crump’s Ride. The third single off of Levels, Congratulate was released 4 months ahead of the album release.
One of AKA’s most successful records, All Eyes On Me, featuring Burna Boy, DA L.E.S and JR, sampled Jomanda’s crossover house hit Got A Love For You, also popularly sampled by Brenda Fassie for her early 90s smash hit Ngiyakusaba. Produced by Tweezy, the record would go on to win Best Collaboration at the All Africa Music Awards.
From 2016 with the release of One Time, AKA started developing a more autotune powered vocal sound. On this single, he sampled Future’s funky Party Weekend released in 1984.
Going back to the uptempo house influence, The World Is Yours sounds like more of an entire instrumental lift than a sample. He lifted the instrumental from Boom Clap Bachelors’ Løb Stop Stå.
His last two singles dug deep into the South African heritage, last year’s Caiphus Song sampled Caiphus Semenya’s iconic Matswale and his latest single Sweet Fire, off of his forthcoming album Touch My Blood, samples Stimela’s Passion, Fire, Ecstasy.
Kiernan Forbes, who credits his father for influencing his musical taste, has a long history of sample influenced production, using historical classics to produce modern hits. It’ll be interesting to see how sampling influences his next project due out this year.