What Song Is Sampled in Runaway by Kanye West?

What Song Is Sampled in Runaway by Kanye West?

When it comes to music production, sampling is a common technique used by artists to incorporate elements from existing songs into their own compositions. One of the most iconic examples of this is Kanye West’s hit song “Runaway” from his critically acclaimed album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In this article, we will explore the sample used in “Runaway” and its significance in the context of the song.

The Sample: “Expo 83” by Backyard Heavies

The main sample in “Runaway” is taken from a song called “Expo 83” by a funk band called Backyard Heavies. Released in 1973, “Expo 83” is a groovy instrumental track that features a catchy piano riff and funky bassline. Kanye West’s genius lies in his ability to take this snippet of music and transform it into something entirely new.

The Transformation Process

When listening to both “Expo 83” and “Runaway,” one might wonder how Kanye West managed to turn a funky instrumental into an emotional ballad. The answer lies in his production skills and creative vision.

In “Runaway,” Kanye slows down the original sample, giving it a more melancholic and introspective feel. He also adds layers of additional instrumentation, such as haunting strings and distorted vocals, to enhance the mood of the song. These additions contribute to the unique sound that Kanye has become known for.

The Significance

“Runaway” is more than just a catchy tune; it is an introspective reflection on personal flaws and relationships. By sampling “Expo 83,” Kanye West not only pays homage to the funk and soul music that has influenced him but also adds depth and complexity to his own narrative.

The choice of “Expo 83” as the sample for “Runaway” is particularly fitting. The original track has an infectious rhythm that makes you want to move, while Kanye’s adaptation slows it down, forcing listeners to confront their own vulnerabilities and insecurities.


In conclusion, the song sampled in Kanye West’s “Runaway” is “Expo 83” by Backyard Heavies. Through his creative production techniques, Kanye transforms this funky instrumental into a poignant and emotionally charged masterpiece. The use of sampling not only adds depth to the song but also pays tribute to the musical influences that have shaped Kanye’s unique sound.