started to count out of curiosity. Let’s just say there were more songs with samples on my laptop than I had anticipated. I then asked myself the questions, “Do we have too much of a good trend in hip hop today, how much sampling is too much, and why aren’t there more producers, and artists using original tracks…completely original tracks?” Now don’t get it twisted…I love a good sample, but when “producers” simply speed up or slow down an original song and throw some percussion on top, it makes me scratch my head a little.
During this past weekend, I had some downtime to get my music library in order. As I was doing so, I realized how many songs I had on my computer that consisted of a sample. I then
I was in a pretty heated debate Tuesday at Starbucks with a friend of mine about this very topic. I was trying to explain to him that the “Kanye’s” of hip hop are given a little too much credit for having portfolios that consists of pretty much nothing but tracks with samples, no originals. My friend then got upset, saying that I was downing other producers who use (or used in Dilla’s case) samples. Producers such as J Dilla, or 9th Wonder. Not what my point was at all. Dilla, for example, used a Singers Unlimited sample to compose the SlumVillage favorite “Players”. Sounds basic right? Not at all. It’s not basic because Singers Unlimited was an a capella singing group during the 1970’s, and the song he sampled from was called “Claire”, slow it down enough, and it sounds like “Players”. This clearly means there where no instruments or a beat to slow down or speed up.
My point is J Dilla used a sample to ADD a touch to a track. He baked the actual beat from scratch; only using the store bought icing to top off the cake. Kanye, on the other hand, has gotten into the habit of simply taking a Duran Duran sample, slowing it down or speeding it up, and rapping on top of it. He simply ran to the store bought cake mix…anyone can get. It’s what you do with the sample. Do you transform it like 9th Wonder? To the point where you have to rewind the track a couple times to actually catch the sample (ex: Food for Thought – Buckshot and 9th Wonder from the Chemistry album) or do you just take Move on Up by Curtis Mayfield, slow it down, and…well, that’s it? If an artist is going to have several tracks consisting of samples, he or she should also have several original tracks to match them. Let’s demand more from our artists and producers. Some of them are getting by a little too easy.