Out of time
One obvious limitation of early samplers was time. With many offering a total memory of just a few seconds, producers looked for creative ways to fit in as many sounds as possible. The simple solution when sampling from a record was to pitch it up. Instead of sampling at 33rpm, the record could be played at 45rpm, with the pitch control all the way up to make it as fast as possible. The sample could then be pitched down in the sampler, taking up less memory but playing back at roughly the same speed and pitch as the original sound.
The unintended side effect of this process was that the effective sound quality of the samples dropped. When you pitch a sound down, you’re reducing its effective sample rate: in simple terms, the sampler doesn’t have any accurate information on what happens ‘between’ two samples, so the more you pitch the sound down, the more it has to fill in the gaps with a rough approximation.
Exactly the same effect is possible in any DAW. Pitch a sound up, resample it and pitch it back down to draw out a bit of that crusty 80s character. You can also roll off some high frequencies and add a bit of mild distortion to help mellow out the sound. This is often very effective on individual drum hits.