When the biggest names in hip-hop started sampling Bollywood and Bhangra tracks, a thriving genre was born almost overnight. From Panjabi MC to MIA, here are 20+ songs in Rap, Pop and EDM that perfectly sample Indian songs.
This list provides the American artist/song with the Hindi track that it was sampled from.
Let’s jump right in like spices in curry.
1. Truth Hurts feat. Rakim – Addictive
Sample Source: Thoda Resham Lagta Hai from movie “Jyoti”
Thoda Resham Lagta Hai was one of the most popular Bollywood songs of its time: released all the way back in 1981 in the film Jyoti. Even though the song was quite popular, it still received a lot of commendations.
2. Britney Spears – Toxic
Sample Source: Tere Mere Beech Main from movie “Ek Duuje Ke Liye”
Tere Mere Beech Mein was a song that was sung for the Bollywood movie Ek Duuje Ke Liye, though the movie was not able to garner a lot of sensation. The song, however, was a quickly good choice for Britney Spears. Tere Mere Beech Main was even nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer.
3. Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Phunk with my Heart
Sample Source: Aye Naujawan Hai Sab Kuch Yahan from movie “Apradh”
Aye Naujawan Hai Sab Kuch Yahan is a simple song that was sung half a century ago: for 1972’s movie Apradh. The song turned out to be pretty iconic for even Black Eyed Peas, one of the more popular names in the world of music. Asha Bhosle was the artist behind this beautiful release.
4. M.I.A – Jimmy
Sample Source: Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja from movie “Disco Dancer”
The track sounds like some sort of Satanic ritual to summon up a guy named Jimmy, but it certainly is not. In fact, it was a very addictive song that was released in the iconic movie Disco Dancer, that is still in the hearts of many Bollywood lovers right now.
British artist M.I.A built her connection and passion for music by incorporating Jimmy Jimmy Aaja and several other songs into her releases like: Jimmy, Bamboo Banga, Bird Flu and so on. MIA’s production was and always be, ahead of it’s time.
5. Jay Z feat. Kanye West – The Bounce
Sample Source: Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai from movie “Khal Nayak”
Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai is a popular soundtrack that is sung at weddings in the subcontinent even today. Even though the song was released in 1993 with the film Khal Nayak, it has become a popular sensation even for the Western adaptations.
Timbland has been very transparent about his production techniques. He has mentioned many times about sampling Indian and Arabic music. “The Bounce” is a banger.
6. Chase & Status – Eastern Jam
Sample Source: Silsila Ye Chaahat from movie “Devdas”
Silsila Ye Chaahat Ka literally translates to “The Connection of our Love” and is a romantic song, like the name suggests. It was used in one of the most popular Bollywood movies of all time: Devdas. Shreya Ghoshal, a four-time National Film Awards winner, sung on this track and we can certainly see why. She has a voice of an angel and her vocals were sampled beautifully.
7. Tricky – Ponderosa
Sample Source: O Maa Tujhe Salaam from movie “Khalnayak”
O Maa Tujhe Salaam is considered to be one of the originals and best songs in the entire Bollywood lineup, with even fanatics dedicated to this one song. It literally translates to “O Mom, I salute you”.
This song was released all the way back in 1993 for the movie Khalnayak and has since then been referenced in many Bollywood movies. You can hear the beat of this song playing in Martina Topley – Bird, and even on the Public Enemy cover of Black Steel.
8. Method Man feat. Busta Rhymes
Sample Source: Dum Maro Dum from movie “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”
Dum Maro Dum is one of those ancient Indian songs that could be seen playing on Indian radios of over 30 years ago. It was released in 1971 for the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
Dum Maro Dum is another of those evergreen Bollywood hits sung by Asha Bhosle. If you literally translate the lyrics behind the song, you might find a few inspirations for your own future productions as well.
9. Erick Sermon feat. Redman – React
Sample Source: Chandi Ka Badan from movie “Taj Mahal”
Chandi Ka Badan or Chandi ka Bazan is one of the oldest digital songs in Indian nomenclature, being released in the legendary film Taj Mahal that is dedicated to a play on the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to dedicate to his late wife: Mumtaz Mahal.
Fun fact: Asha Bhosle also played a vital part in production of this song.
10. Mobb Deep feat. Young Buck – Give it to Me
Sample Source: Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aaye from movie “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”
Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aaye is one of the most popular songs of all time. It has been taken from the Bollywood sensation and award-winning movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai that was popular even outside India.
Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aaye translates to something along the lines of “I hope you don’t suffer remembering me” which is opposite of the hard gangsta song.
11. Panjabi MC feat. Jay Z – Beware of the Boys
Sample Source: Mundian to Bach Ke from Bollywood album “Legalised”
Mundian to Bach Ke was nominated for the Echo Award for Best Dance Single in International category. This song was released all the way back in 2003 by the artist Panjabi MC. “Mundian to Bach ke” kind of translates to “Beware of The Boys” – which is literally what the Jay Z song is named.
12. Mark B feat. Tommy Evans – Move.. Now
Sample Source: Jab Chaye Mera Jadoo from movie “Lootmaar”
Jab Chaye Mera Jadoo is one of those magical songs that just randomly click in your head even though you have never listened to it before. Even though the song has been underrated online, it was certainly one of the best songs at the time it was released.
Asha Bhosle was also the vocalist behind another gem: Jab Chaye Mera Jadoo.
13. The Game – Put You on the Game
Sample Source: Baghon Main Kahar Hai from movie “Aradhana”
Baghon Main Kahar Hai was a song that was used in the ancient Bollywood movie Aradhana, which in turn, was a remake of the Hollywood movie To Each His Own. If you have been keeping up with your movies, you probably know what movie we are talking about.
Baghon Mein Bahar Hai was a really good romantic song. In the version it is used in, The Game couldn’t find the original sample, so the Indian song was resampled and edited all across the English song. The creative chopping is a masterclass in sample editing.
14. La Coka Nostra feat. Bun B – Choose your Side
Sample Source: Mujhe Maar Daalo from movie “Geeta Mera Naam”
In the local accent, Mujhe Maar Daalo literally translates to “Kill me” but with some sort of respect for the person who needs to kill. It’s kind of an emo-romantic song. Asha Bhosle really did a great job with this Bollywood hit song. It was released for the movie Geeta Mera Naam, which is fundamentally a 1974 movie all about a murder investigation and features a pretty dark environment.
15. True Tiger Feat. P Money – Slang Like This
Sample Source: Parbat ke Peeche from movie “Mehbooba”
Parbat ke Peeche translates roughly to “Behind the peak”, where the peak could fundamentally refer to a mountain’s peak. It was a romantic song that was released all the way back in 1976 for a movie named Mehbooba, which also translates to “My love (female)” or “Beloved (female”. For you younger generations, a more appropriate word would be “bae”.
If you ever listened to hip-hop and rap between the ’10 and ’11, you must have at least listened to this Slang Like This at least once.
16. Alex Thesleff – Bad Karma
Sample Source: Let the Music Play from Bollywood album “Shardana”
Let the Music Play was a song that was not released for a Bollywood movie. In fact, Shamur, the artists behind this song, are Italian by birth. This Bollywood Hindi song is certainly a unique pop track that was released in 2008 as a part of their album Shardana.
17. Black Eyed Peas – The Elephunk Theme
Sample Source: Unakkum Enakkum from movie “Ilayaraja”
Not to be confused by a movie of the same name, Unakkum Enakkum was a song that was released all the way back in 1999 by Ilayaraja. This Tamil song might be very underrated as it stands right now, but it certainly does not stop it from being loved by Black Eyed Peas.
We mentioned Black Eyed Peas earlier with their Don’t Phunk With my Heart. The artist: William James Adam Jr loves Indian music. He himself shares that he wanted to somehow throwback to this beautiful song somehow.
18. Madlib – More Rice!
Sample Source: De De Pyar De from movie “Sharaabi”
The late Kishore Kumar was a great singer, music director, lyricist, actor, writer, director, producer, screenwriter and basically any role in cinema you can find. An extremely talented individual, Kishore Kumar’s amazing song De De Pyar De was a hit song that was used in the hit movie Sharaabi. This song literally translates to “Give me love” but in a slightly humorist approach. De De Pyar De was even nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer.
19. Heems – Soup Boys
Sample Source: Why This Kolaveri Di from movie “3”
If you have a friend who likes Bollywood, they certainly know of the hit-song “Why This Kolaveri Di”. The Bollywood song itself is quite a big deal, as it was able to garner more than a million views easily in the movie “3” and actually won the Filmfare Award for best Male Playback Singer in Tamil.
Because the song is very popular, it is bound to get some remixes. There are quite a few other remixes available as well.
20. Four Tet – Morning Side
Sample Source: Main Teri Chhoti Behna Hoon from movie “Souten”
Main Teri Chhoti Behna Hoon is a really cute way of saying “I’m your little sister” in Hindi. Fun fact you can hear the entire Bollywood song inside this 20-minute Morning Side song.
The song’s pretty sweet, and you should definitely check it out. The samples are pretty low-beat so you can use them in your song dedicated for families as well.
21. Swetshop boys – Benny Lava
Sample Source: Kalluri Vaanil from movie “Pennin Manathai Thottu”
Kalluri Vaanil was a pretty old song that was used in a pretty weird movie called Pennin Manathai Thottu, which is kind of pretty hilarious if you watch the movie without any frame of reference.
We are not here to bash at anything, but the song Kalluri Vaanil that was released in 2000 was a pretty good deal. You should give it a try without the video, it might give you some production inspiration.
22. Prodigy – Real Power is People
Sample Source: Ye Mera Dil from movie “Kucch to hai”
Ye Mera Dil was another song that was released by Asha Bhosle, with the other song being “Aye Naujawan Hai Sab Kuch Yahan” that we mentioned with Black Eyed Peas above.
Ye Mera Dil literally translates to “This my heart” and is a pretty romantic song if you understand the lyrics according to the reference.
23. MALFNNKTION – Bombay Rhapsody
Sample Source: Pukarta Chala Hoon Main from movie “Mere Sanam”
Pukarta Chala Hoon Main sounds like a non-chalant way of saying “I have been calling for you” – a romantic song that is all about a guy who has the hots for a female but in definitely a non-stalker manner.
Pukarta Chala Hoon Main may not have won any awards, but it certainly did win quite a few hearts. You can ask any Indian who is old enough to have lived through that age and they will most certainly know this song.
24. Das Racist – Ek Shaneesh
Sample Source: Ek Shahenshah
Ek Shahenshah translates to “One emperor” and basically refers to the song “Ek Shahenshah Ne Banwa Ke” which is fundamentally about none other than the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his beautiful creation: Taj Mahal.
The artist Das Racist’s song name is basically the same song but uses a different name mainly as a running gag – as explained by the producer: Like Magic.
25. Madvillain – Do not Fire!
Sample Source: Mithi Mithi Ankhiyon Se from movie “Maha Chor”
Mithi Mithi Ankhiyon Se is a cute song that was basically all about a seemingly Buddhist guy going heads over heels for a girl and singing a song in her praise. The name of the song literally translates to “Fill my heart with your sweet, sweet eyes/view” – definitely does not sound like a stalker, does it?
Anyways, the song has been used in the old movie Maha Chor and features the legendary actor Kishore Kumar and legendary singer Asha Bhosle.
It is kind of weird how two different genres, when combined, can make a really good song.
26. Caribou – Odessa
Sample Source: Are Dil Se Dil Mile from the movie “Bulundi”
Are Dil Se Dil Mile is another one of those sweet romantic songs that a certain Bollywood-struck dad would loop on and on in their car forever.
This ancient song was released exactly 50 years ago and was used in the movie Bulundi. Even though the song did not garner much attention at that time, it is still popular with middle-aged Indian adults of today. We still do not know whether Caribou merely wanted to cash on this popularity or what, but considering how Caribou is a great composer and all, we cannot say anything for sure.
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