Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sampling, yay or nay?

The art of sampling music began around the 1960's, but with the growth of hip-hop, it has become more and more prevalent in music. Although hip-hop is not the only genre to sample music, the art form has become increasing popular and seems to have caused a dispute between listeners. Some argue that the use of samples makes the song unoriginal and that the artists are stealing other artists' talent. However, others argue that samples enhance the music by allowing the artist to make it their own. I somewhat with both.
The videos above are all of songs that include sampling, but do so in different ways. "Hard Knock Life" by Jay-Z samples Annie's "It's The Hard Knock Life" in the way he keeps the chorus intact while rapping over the beat. Yet, in Kanye West's "Stronger," he basically takes Daft Punk's whole song and raps over it. Mac Miller takes the song "Fireflies" by Owl City and uses the melody as a background along with the chorus. I find that while the sampling is affective in making the song enjoyable, it does have its implications. I feel that in songs like these, the original artist isn't always recognized. If someone were to listen to one of these songs, they might not recognize the sample and just assume the production came solely the sampling artist. However, this really isn't the case in Jay-Z's song because the sampling comes from an extremely popular children's movie. He was able to evolve the childish tune into a song that's completely his own. Also, in Kanye's "Stronger," he explicitly gives homage to the original artist in the video. The members of Daft Punk are featured in the video and makes it seem like the song is more collaborative than sampling. The fact that an hip-hop artist samples a song gives the original artist recognition. Yet, in Mac Miller's "Don't Mind If I Do," he uses a song that is very different from the genre of hip-hop which may make it difficult for a listener to identify the sample. I'm really on the fence on my view of sampling, what do you think about it? 


  1. I think sampling is a good thing because it reflects the way the rest of society work. Especially now with the web, Facebook, text messaging, etc. collaboration has become so commonplace. The world of scholars is based on taking other people's ideas and improving them or applying them to something different.

    I believe that this is what sampling does to the rap scene- it takes songs that originally were used for a different purpose (although not always, often a pop song or something in a genre outside of rap) and turning them into something that can be used for rap, which is something I see as being beneficial to the world of rap and the relationship between rap and the rest of popular culture.

  2. I agree that sampling is beneficial for both the hip hop scene as well as the artist because as Lil Wayne said, "It's cheaper, producers be wanting their money." Sampling has always been in hip hop culture from simple drum lines to entire songs. Many rappers these days use a short clip of a past song to base their own song off, and doesn't necessarily reference them. This could be breaking copyright rules, but who knows. As Alec said in class, most mixtapes are rappers using other artist's beats and putting their twist on it. As for the reason why artists choose to rap over other beats, Lil Wayne said that its not about "killing them" on their own track, its that he likes the song and wants to kill it himself.

  3. Sampling isn't a bad thing if it's done right. An example of bad sampling would be P.Diddy sampling "Kashmir" by Led Zepplin for his song "Come With Me". He basically just raps over the sample, which shows uncreativity on his and his producer's part. An example of good sampling would be something like what Kanye West did with "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 on Jay-Z's "H.O.V.A". I barely could recognize that it was sampled until after the 5th listen.

    Sampling is done way less now than it was done back in the 80's and 90's mainly because of stricter sampling laws. Sampling grew from the fact that most artist who did Hip-Hop back in the day came from poor neighborhoods and couldn't afford to learn to play instruments. It's a part of Hip-Hop's, and music's, culture. It's just like playing an instrument. It's good if it's done right.


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