RJD2: From Samples to Songs

Learn how to create and arrange original, sample-based music with sampling pioneer RJD2.

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When he first hit the scene with his acclaimed 2002 album Deadringer, sampling artist and innovator RJD2 proved that it was possible to make infectious instrumental hip-hop beats for a wide audience without the need for a singer or MC. Since then, he's taken on one creative challenge after another, from composing the TV theme music for Mad Men to collaborating with vocalists and rappers, and taking the art of sampling to new heights. 

In this exclusive online course, you'll learn from RJ himself how to write and arrange music drawing on the power of sampling records and a collage-based mindset. He will show you how he personally tackles new tracks with his trusty MPC, and he'll open up sessions from some of his classic tracks to show how they were made. You'll learn new approaches to sampling, songwriting, and arranging, and how to make instrumental beats that capture someone's attention from start to finish. Along the way, RJ will share with you his wisdom, perspectives, and advice for fulfilling your creative dreams.

This course is for anyone interested in producing compelling instrumental music drawing from a sampling tradition — no previous experience or MPC required. Drop the needle and let's get started!


Producer, DJ, & Composer

Ramble Jon Krohn, better known by his stage name RJD2, is a songwriter, composer, and producer celebrated for his genre-defying tunes and versatile sampling-based approach to music. His first album Deadringer was released on label Definitive Jux in 2002 and was widely acclaimed as a landmark in instrumental hip-hop beat making. Since then, he's released six more albums under his solo moniker, traversing a wide array of genres from hip-hop to funk to indie rock and beyond. He's also been involved in a number of collaborations and remixes, with such artists as Massive Attack, Tycho, and Polyphonic Spree. His track "A Beautiful Mine" became widely recognizable as the theme for AMC's hit show Mad Men.

Photo by Nick Fancher.

More About RJD2
Less About RJD2
electronic music
inspiration and creativity
drum machines
song analysis
beat making

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Watch the Trailer

RJD2's music shows how you can make exciting art within radical constraints. In fact, that's what so much of his process is based on. In this course we'll explore those constraints and how they can help you create powerful new music. Watch the trailer to explore more! 

Make Better Beats & Songs

Harness the power of sampling and arranging to create interesting ideas and transform them into full, engaging tracks.

Learn to Capture & Manipulate Samples

Learn how RJD2 finds, samples, and edits source material to create new song ideas.

Dive Into RJ's Tracks

Watch RJ take apart some of his most well-known tracks and show how he made them.

Pick Up New Arranging Techniques

Learn how RJ develops the kernel of an idea into a full song.

Discover RJ's Creative Process

Explore RJ's influences, inspiration, and creative process as he constantly pushes himself in new ways.


Course Outline

  1. Preview
    Section 1


  2. Section 2

    The Art of Sampling

  3. Section 3

    Songwriting & Creative Process

  4. Section 4

    Loop-Based Sampling

  5. Section 5

    Chopping & Arranging Samples

  6. Section 6

    Let There Be Horns

  7. Section 7

    Smoke & Mirrors

  8. Section 8

    Descended From Myth

  9. Section 9



Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone interested in learning from RJD2 about his process and approach to making music. More specifically, it's for musicians interested in capturing, manipulating, and arranging samples in their music, and applying lessons from a sample-based mindset to their work. Finally, there are parts of the course that will be interesting for anyone making instrumental music, looking for ways to keep their tracks fresh and interesting. 

What will I learn in this course?

You'll learn about RJD2's influences, his approach to creativity and music-making, how he arranges sequences, sections, and songs with a sampler, how to navigate sampling in the MPC or the DAW, how to arrange instrumental songs, and much more. RJ will also open up three of his songs ("Smoke & Mirrors," "Let There Be Horns," & "Descended From Myth") and showcase how he made them and various arranging techniques he employed along the way. 

Are there any pre-reqs?

There are different sections in this course that might require slightly different levels of knowledge. The first couple sections have no requirements except for an interest in sampling and music-making. The middle sections and final sections require either an MPC, DAW, or other sampler to program and arrange music with. 

This course can be useful for first-time samplers or more experienced pros.  

We also recommend checking out our Art of Hip-Hop Production and Advanced Synth & Patch Design for Producers courses, which have additional information on sampling, sound design, and hip-hop production. 

How long does this course take?

This course was designed for you to go through at your own pace. If you wanted to do all the content linearly from start to finish, there are seven big milestones in the course and a final challenge, that could be done over the course of one to two months.

You're also welcome to just skip around to the lessons and sections most relevant to you and your music.  

Is there a specific start date?

You can start the course anytime. If you'd like more accountability, and guided feedback from a professional, you can request to work through the course and your own goals with a Soundfly Mentor for four or six weeks, and get a more personalized experience for a specific period of time.  

Learn more about custom mentorship here.

How many lessons are there?

This course includes 76 lessons, including videos, graphics, text, activities, demos, creative prompts, downloadable tracks, stems, and much more. 

What do I get if I enroll as a subscriber?

As a subscriber, you'll get unlimited access to all courses on, including this and all our other premium courses, to go through at your own pace. This includes all the videos, tutorials, demos, quizzes, activities, downloads, and other materials within our full suite of courses.

You're also entitled to a 25% discount on our custom mentorship program, you will be invited to join our exclusive community Discord group, you'll be able join subscriber-only Study Groups, artist Q&As and workshops, annual contests and giveaways, and you'll have access to a growing list of exclusive discount perks courtesy of our partner brands. Cancel anytime.

You can find out more about subscribing here.

What is your refund policy?

Our mission is to support musicians, not to rip anyone off. If you realize after subscribing that it's not what you wanted, email us as soon as you can with your reason for cancelling. Our policy is to issue refunds within two weeks of a purchase, for either a monthly or annual subscription, if the courses didn't meet your expectations.

Note that we cannot offer refunds on monthly subscription payments beyond a single month of payment because of the residuals we pay out to our instructors and artists.

Can I take this course with a mentor?

Yes, absolutely. If you would like to go through the course with support, accountability, feedback, and guidance from an expert, you can request a mentor by filling out this form. A Soundfly staffperson will reach out within 48 hours to learn more about your goals, your music, and your skills level, and pair you with a mentor who can help you achieve your next musical milestone. Our mentorship program is our science-backed learning model designed to help you learn more efficiently and effectively. Your mentor will tailor the course to your experience and interests, offer detailed weekly feedback on your work, answer any questions you have, help you blow past obstacles, and keep you on track to accomplish your goals.

You can find out more about mentorship and our expert mentors here.