Sample Sunday

Published on May 5th, 2013 | by Queso


Sample Sunday: Imogen Heap – “Little Bird”

I should title this “Flip A Little Bird.” I should also point out my recent discovery of the number of times Imogen Heap is sampled for a Hip-Hop track. And she’s pretty awesome.

The Sample

This weeks sample is Imogen Heap’s “Little Bird,” from her 2009 album, Ellipse. The meaning of the song has been discussed a bit and most people lean towards a conflict inside a home which, from the outside, appears great. Some have suggested conflicts between the parents (siting Imogen’s parents’ separation when she was twelve), while some suggest abuse. Wikipedia states it’s about “domestic boredom.”

Regardless of what the meaning of the song is, this is a beautiful song. Imogen Heap has a wonderfully unique sound (this is my first time hearing a song of hers) and uses her voice well to evoke emotions in her music, including the increasing tension throughout. I also like the use of her raspiness at points. The production matches the idea of everything being so simple and beautiful on the outside, but less beautiful and possibly tense on the inside. We hear a simple melody that changes slightly between verses, increasing in complexity. The underlying complexity throughout is largely due to the hard-to-determine time signature.

This is an amazing song and has made me a fan. I never understand how some people can say sampling is so terrible, especially when it leads to discoveries for people who, otherwise would have never known about the sampled artist or song.

The Flip

The flip comes from a track ironically titled “Flip A Bird.” So, of course it had to be sample based. Oh, and yes, Queso is doing another vocal flip for Sample Sunday.

“Flip A Bird” is from Slaughterhouse’s 2012 album, Welcome to: Our House. The track is produced by Black Key Beats and Zukhan (and Eminem) and uses both vocal and piano elements from “Little Bird.” As I’ve stated many times before, I love a good vocal flip, primarily when it makes a line sound like something different. While “bird” is often used as slang for a woman, the “bird” in this case is actually cocaine. This should be easy to believe seeing that they sample the Imogen Heap line, “in the kitchen,” from the same song and use it to close out the chorus.

So, while they may be “flipping you off,” which isn’t hard to believe, understand that they are trying to get this paper and have more important birds to flip.

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About the Author

is co-founder and editor-in-chief of If he's not fooling around on the website, you may be able to catch him listening to Prince, stream-monstering, or making pancakes. Follow him @theconqueso or email at

  • Thomas Dobbins

    All of Imogen’s stuff is very cool!

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