True Identity: Sampling

We live in a world where almost every other artist has sampled an old track and put their own twist on it. Whether it’s an RnB track from the early 2000s or a soul album from the 80s, sampling has no limitations. It dates back to the Jazz era, was experimented with in the 60s and popularized in the 80s Rap music come up. Back in the 80s when rap first floated to the surface, DJs like Grandmaster Flash and Kool DJ Herc would manipulate the rotation of disco and funk vinyls so it would only play the climax of the song in a melodic way. Soon after wordsmiths would find themselves rhyming and lyricizing over the beats jumpstarting the Rap revolution. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five quickly became a widely known sensation with this method, which is also portrayed in the Netflix original “The Get Down”.

In the 90s Rap scene, sampling became almost a given. All the greats were doing it from 2Pac’s “Keep Your Head Up” to Biggie’s “Juicy” and Diddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You”, nobody missed an opportunity to remaster old hits. All of those hits have a deeper meaning in common. These legendary rappers would make their own out of a forgotten gem. Since then many popular Rappers and Singers today have followed in their footsteps. However, nowadays I’m getting the impression that every other good song is a sample.

Often times I will hear a song by an artist I don’t expect much from and will be pleasantly surprised by one of their tracks. Over half of the time it turns out to be a sample. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the song but I can’t help but be mildly disappointed sometimes. It has come up too often that listeners will be unaware of the fact that the song was even sampled in the first place, not knowing the production that they find incredible isn’t actually the artists own creation. Hip-Hop, Jazz and Soul singers will be stripped of their credit and nobody even knows. The origin of sampling is pure and the intention maybe often times even genuine, nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that every artist today still samples with the intention of honoring a legend. Most artists don’t even write their own lyrics anymore let alone use real instruments for their tracks like demonstrated in the samples. So, are the artists honoring oldies or just being lazy? Occasionally, when I hear a talented artist have their greatest hit be a sample, I think to myself: you could have done that too. Artists today need to find back to the roots of music creation. They’re missing real instruments, meaningful lyrics and a chorus sung by a contemporary RnB singer. Great artists like that do exist in our generation, some not even getting enough credit for it as well. They represent real music and should be credited for that. Artists today need to find their true identity.