Sampling has been used in music for decades and its application has led to the creation of many legendary and inventive songs.
Simply put, sampling in music is reusing part of a song in a different recording. It applies to rhythm, melody, vocals or any aspect of music. The sampled portion of the song is then manipulated and edited to fit the context of the artist and their idea.
In the age of digital audio workstations and a computerized workflow in music creation, the ethics of sampling and fair use have been debated ever since technology has been implicated in music creation. art of making music. But as we’ve seen with many popular tracks from artists like Drake, Doja Cat and many more, it seems artists are a lot more forgiving of sample usage than they were there. 20 years ago.
When you erase a sample, you must pay the label that owns the master recordings and cede a percentage of your publishing royalties to the original artists and the label. Unauthorized samples result in lawsuits that create a host of legal issues for all parties involved.
When sampling was first introduced, producers would shop for records at thrift stores and look for obscure music and anything that caught their eye.
With this method, producers would often find artists they would never have heard of otherwise, which expands their musical vocabulary and opens a window for artists to explore their work and catalog. Traveling to different states for record stores was commonplace, and it became an adventure as well as a treasure hunt to find the best samples and sounds available.
The legendary hip-hop producer J. Dilla was one of the most prolific samplers in history and helped redefine how people could manipulate samples to their advantage. Using his MPC3000, he expanded hip-hop samples far beyond drum loops and muted vocals and became famous for his drum patterns and rhythm manipulation.
His influence extends to alternative music and drum patterns that seem to go in and out of their groove, as he helped popularize drums that sway to the beat rather than simply follow the music as it is written.
The Franco-English rock band Stereolab released their landmark album “Stitches and loopsin September 1997, and this album used samples, extensive drum programming, and analog gear to inspire a new generation of producers. The mechanical drums and brilliant sound design made it a favorite among music collectors, and Stereolab’s catalog is well known in different spheres because of its use of the sample.
His third track, “The Flower Called Nowhere”, one of Stereolab’s singles, sampled Krzysztof Komeda’s 1967 track “Herbert’s Song.” The hip hop producer madlib famously sampled the same song in his 2014 track, “Ra Ash.” The use of samples often transcends boundaries and genres, and exhibition sampling brings different artists to show how two different minds can use the same point of reference.
French jazz band Cortex released their first and most famous album “Blue Herdin 1975, and this album became a reference for many of the most famous hip-hop producers.
Its use of the Wurlitzer keyboard and ethereal vocal production made it a benchmark among jazz albums of its day, and its improvisational musical passages resemble an extended masterclass of phrasing and tone. The band’s song “October 1971” was most famously sampled on DOOM MF‘s”A beer“from his 2004 album”MM…FOOD” and has been used as a producer gold mine ever since.
Sampling has grown and developed since its inception, and the internet has helped streamline the process and make its learning more accessible. Sampling exists as an educational tool and as a way for artists to inspire each other. Although samples can sometimes be used in bad taste or not used to the best of their abilities, most of these complaints are subjective in the eyes of the audience and the artist.