View Full Version : The Death of the Sample

10-14-2010, 04:17 PM
Today I look at why samples aren't used as much anymore and how artists are now getting around clearances by releasing "street albums"


I donít think itís news to anyone that hip hop is global

from the growing number of artists getting shine to the numerous examples of rap cultural influence in mainstream society. Weíve gone from street corners to corner offices (I think I stole that from Jay, who probably stole it from Biggie) and in the process weíve had to make some sacrifices, some good and some bad. While the sacrifice of integrity happened a long time ago with songs like ďButt Booty NakedĒ (check your House Party 3 soundtrack, or a milk carton for AMG), there are still little bits and pieces of hip hop that mysteriously disappear from time to time and most people (including myself) donít really notice theyíre gone until itís too late to ever get them back, like the uncleared yet unmistakable sample.

Back in the day hip hop was a genre of music dismissed as noise and paid little to no attention, and in a way that was actually better for the music. What label is really gonna be concerned about paying for publishing rights when only a handful of people are gonna hear your album? Even with moderate success chances are that band from the 70s isnít going to notice that you swagger-jacked their shit because theyíre too busy emptying out their Sarah Michelle Gellar crucifixes for another line of that white girl and itís not like the sampling artist had any cruel intentions (see what I did there) in not paying for the sample, they just couldnít afford it.

We have bigger recording budgets now but that doesnít account for an immense amount of sample clearances and at this point, with hip hop being as big as it is, no label is going to take a chance on getting
sued for some bullshit 5 second loop that you got on some random track. And the way these law suits are coming up recently (Cypress Hill (http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.12221/title.cypress-hill-apple-sued-for-how-i-could-just-kill-a-man), as well as Leaders of the New School (http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.12157/title.busta-rhymes-lons-sued-over-91-song)) itís no surprise that people are much more apprehensive about samples and more apt to just press (http://www.reppghhiphop.com/submissions/press/) buttons and let a computer do the rest. I remember reading somewhere that T.I.ís Paper Trail had something like 2 or 3 samples on the whole album, compare that to an old school album that would have sometimes hundreds of sampled tracks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul%27s_Boutique), usually all uncleared.

So what are artists doing in the age of constant track list changes due to uncleared samples? Dropping the ďstreet albumĒ or essentially a mixtape with no DJ screaming all over it (sometimes). Jeezy just did it (http://www.2dopeboyz.com/2010/09/29/young-jeezy-%e2%80%93-the-last-laugh-mixtape/), Rick Ross did it with his Albert Anastasia EP. More and more youíre seeing artists releasing whatís essentially a full length album, but because they simply leak it for free on the net and donít profit from it, they really canít be hit with any lawsuits from the artists they sampled. Itís also a great way to get your music to your fans without any of that record label bullshit getting in the way.

Now youíve also got these websites posting these ďoriginal sample ď collections and while I could go all DJ Premier on them for essentially snitching, Iíve been known to snatch up every one of those zip files as well as the countless mixtapes (http://www.5thplatoon.com/html/original.html) random DJs have put together that blend the samples with the tracks, so I canít speak on that, but I will say that itís a shame that in the growth of hip hop that we had to lose the ability to easily sample a song without worrying about the repercussions. Acknowledgment of the culture as a viable entity has opened up intense scrutiny of the culture as well, so at this point itís deeper than just listing an artist and song, itís an aspect of the culture that will continue to dwindle until we can no longer claim that weíre reinventing music from our influences, it truly will be just clicks and snaps.

10-14-2010, 08:46 PM
oh the sample is far from dead my friend.

there are a million basement producers out there who still sample religiously and eventually when hip hop makes a complete 360 and sampling blows up again it'll be a beautiful thing! have faith and stop spreading this garbage around helping to kill it and shit you fuckin queer bait!

10-14-2010, 09:06 PM
^where u live in toronto?

10-14-2010, 09:15 PM
i agree wif deeznutz1981 sampling is far from dead

10-14-2010, 09:15 PM
north end

10-14-2010, 09:17 PM
^where u live in toronto?

north end u?

10-14-2010, 10:18 PM
he does not know what he's talking about

10-15-2010, 01:30 AM
north end u?

Downtown. Chinatown is a 2 minute walk