Lately there has been a growth in cloud based loop and samples subscription services offering access to vast libraries of royalty free samples and loops however there’s still a place for free sample packs as not everyone can or wants to pay those monthly or annual subscription fees.
This weekend I’ve scoured the internet looking for useful – and 100% free – sample packs from respectable sources (and there are no affiliate links in this selection either!)
I’ve focused on hip hop for this round up but these samples could find a home in all sorts of genres including lofi, ambient, trip-hop and trap. (Anyone still making trip-hop in 2021? Just me, is it?)
I’ll start off my selection with some quality free drum packs before moving onto other parts of a hip hop track including guitars and vocals.
Download Free Samples for your next Hip Hop Track!
Where would hip hop be without samples? Certainly not the cultural phenomenon it is today, that’s for sure! Get your beats off to a flying start with these 10 dope sample packs, all 100% free:
1. 808 Tape from Wave Alchemy
Let’s kick things off with a selection of tasty 808 samples. All these samples have been recorded to 1/4” analogue tape. In total you get 318 24-bit 100% royalty free drum samples including: 87 kick drum samples, 90 snare drums, 42 toms, 39 hi hats and 60 percussion hits (claps, claves, cowbell etc). Everyone needs good quality 808 samples and this free pack from sampling supremos Wave Alchemy is simply too good to pass up.
2. Goldbaby Tape 606
In music production circles Goldbaby is famous for the quality of his samples and he’s clearly a generous guy too as can be seen by his incredible selection of free samples.
If you’re new to making hip hop then you could probably benefit from downloading all or most of his free sample packs if only to give yourself a fantastic collection of drum machine sounds for no cost whatsoever.
With Wave Alchemy having the 808 side of things covered you can download Goldbaby’s Tape606 Pack which gives you sounds of the TR-606 given the tape treatment. In all you get 128 x 24 bit wavs plus 2 free Maschine kits.
Don’t be afraid of mixing the 606 drum machine sounds with your 808 sounds – there are no rules when it comes to sample based music – apart from all the rules invented by the record company suits, of course!
3. 275 free retro drum machine samples
The UK’s Computer Music magazine, and its sister publication Future Music, have given away thousands of free samples over the years and luckily for us you can download many of them for free via the Music Radar website.
I’ve chosen the 275 free retro drum machine samples pack as it’s a great way of getting hold of some free vintage drum samples in one handy pack – and you can never have enough vintage drum machine samples clogging up your hard drives.
This pack contains samples of the Soundmaster SR-88 drum machine, Pearl SY1 Syncussion drum synth, and also the rhythm section from the Casio MT40 synth. Both raw and processed hits and loops are included. Which is nice. If you want your beats to sound different to everyone else’s then you really need to hoover up niche sample packs like this and see what gems you can find.
4. 494 free essential drum kit samples
Consider the 275 retro samples pack a tasty little starter before moving onto the main feast in the form of this pack of 494 essential drum kit samples. This pack features 18 different kits each of which is made up of various one-shot samples in .wav format ready to drop into your software (or hardware) of choice.
5. 475 free crate digger’s samples
Now you’ve got a decent collection of individual drum hits in your sample archive it’s time to start digging for useful guitar loops, funky breaks, piano chords and more. You could spend hours sampling off your grandpa’s record collection – while worrying about the lawyers – or you could forget all that hassle and save yourself time by downloading this collection of 475 ready to use, royalty free samples.
In this sample pack you’ll find six folders of atmospheric and authentic sounding samples organized by tempo plus a bonus folder of vinyl noises.
6. 50 free Bomb Squad samples
Get 50 free sounds from legendary producer Hank Shocklee of The Bomb Squad and Public Enemy fame with this taster pack taken from the Bomb Squad – Tactical Beats and Sample Artillery sample pack.
7. Free Scratch Samples pack
Want some authentic vinyl scratch one shot samples? Can’t be bothered to set up your decks? Swapped your decks for a Nintendo Switch? Grab this free pack from Rhythm Lab and you’ll have 75 scratch samples ready to drop into your tracks in no time at all.
8. Free Guitar Samples pack
By now you’ve got enough drum samples to create a Grammy winning album or two but how are you going to win a Grammy unless your album has its fair share of guitar riffs? Sometimes even the best producers need more than just a cowbell.
Grab this pack of 20 guitar samples courtesy of the Hip Hop Makers and drop one or more into your track.
If you’re wanting to earn respect from other hip hop producers then it’s essential you put on a baseball cap before reversing one of these samples and running it through an instance of Fruity Phaser, cutting the low end to make room for your bass kick, pitch shifting it up by 3 semitones and then adding reverb, compression and delay. At least that’s what my producer friend John tells me!
9 Free Ad-Lib Vocals Sample pack
Still not got that Grammy? Maybe you need to run some vocals through 35 different Waves plugins, record the results onto a real c60 cassette tape, play the tape in a 1980s tape recorder and then record the results back into your DAW via your phone for further processing to really make your hip hop album the talk of the town? Hey! It’s just a suggestion! Download this free collection of 327 free vocal ad-lib samples and worry about how best to use them later!
10. Free MPC 2000XL Samples Pack
Look, if you don’t use genuine MPC 2000XL samples in your hip hop tracks how do you expect to win a Grammy? The problem is how are you going to get hold of a 2000XL nowadays? Sure you could max out the credit card and buy one on Reverb or Ebay but then you’d have to wait for it to be delivered and who wants to wait? Not you. You want to make killer beats right now, this instant!
Luckily for you the wonderful Samples from Mars gives away a free MPC 2000XL based sample pack which you can download in less time than it takes to read the description: 96 MPC drum samples and 29 midi grooves created with the legendary MPC 2000XL. Drum samples have been sourced from both vinyl and drum machines and then filtered, clipped and edited in a real old school MPC before being processed to perfection with an Overstayer modular channel, and finally mapped to work perfectly with your favorite DAWs and samplers.
Now with all those free samples you really have no excuse to not make a Grammy winning album, right? What’s that? Netflix?