Do professional producers use loops?

While it’s true that producers who use use loops in their productions can be frowned upon by few, many people go completely unaware that a song even uses a loop.

In my experience if you’re critiqued by someone for using loops, it’s generally by other musicians, but general listeners are much better at listening to a song for what it is rather than wondering how it was made.

To answer the question, for many years now using guitar loops, full melody loops or even MIDI Kits has become a standard practice in genres such as:

  • Dance
  • Hip Hop
  • Lo-Fi
  • EDM

Some of the most popular producers and artists in the music industry are very open the fact that they use loops in there productions, let’s look at this from two perspectives, using loops from famous songs and using loops from sample packs / apple loops.

Here are some examples of popular songs that use loops from famous songs.

Which songs use samples?

SongOriginal Sample
M.I.A. – 'Paper Planes' (2008)The Clash – ‘Straight to Hell’ (1982)
Sugar Hill Gang – 'Rapper's Delight' (1979)Chic – Good Times (1979) + others
A Tribe Called Quest – 'Can I Kick It?'Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side (1972)
The Notorious B.I.G. – 'Mo Money Mo Problems' (1997)Diana Ross – ‘I’m Coming Out’ (1972) + others
N.W.A. – 'Express Yourself' (1988)Charles Wright – Express Yourself (1970)
Kanye West – 'Blood on the Leaves' (2013)Nina Simone – Strange Fruit (1965)

And these are some examples of songs that use Apple Loops.

Apple loops in hit songs?

  • A$AP Rocky – Praise The Lord (feat. Skepta)
  • Rihanna – Umbrella.
  • Justice – Cross.
  • T-Pain – Rappa Ternt Sanga.
  • Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds.
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows.

Using loops has become a professional standard in todays modern music industry, with the vast amount of production software and techniques we have at our disposal we can do so much more then just use a melodic structures of popular songs, or use a loop from a sample pack and not alter it in anyway.

How do you modulate a sample?

Here are a few ways manipulate your samples:

  • Time-stretching
  • Pitching up or down
  • Chop up and rearrange into a different sequence
  • Reverse it

How most producers use loops

I’ll admit it, even as a sample creator i still use loops from other producers. All though that may sound a little crazy, it’s true. Here is how I use them and most other successful producers .

I use them to complement what I’ve already composed, as a seasoned guitar player, most of projects start out on the guitar. I’ll start by recording a guitar part, adding drums, bass, synths and so on.

Once that I have created a solid foundation, if I feel like something is missing, I’ll lean towards using loops for instruments that I can not play, or for parts that i don’t feel like MIDI would be sufficient for.

For instance, under my artist name “Grimmm” i drop Lo-fi music that contains many saxophone parts, the majority of the time, these sections come from sample pack sites such as Slooply and Mixxed.

Is producing with loops cheating?

This question has been asked for many years, and whenever someone asks, I reply with the same answer, cheating at what?

Truthfully, using loops is not cheating, musicians have been borrowing from other musicians for years and it doesn’t just exist in within hip hop.

Jazz is made up of many standards, which have been covered thousands by different artists.

The same exists in blues.

Also think of the many pop songs known to use the same chord progression, is this not sampling?

There are only, 12 notes in music and we do as much with them as we can.

Being creative with how you integrate loops and samples into your productions, is the key to making them sound original and enjoyable for the listener.

Remember that not everyone analyses every aspect of a track like a music producer would, if you’re listening to music, remember to actually listen and enjoy it.

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