Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blog Poll

Hello all.

This blog is merely to get an opinion from readers. I'll ask a question and you give me your thoughts in the comments.

Got it?


Here we go.


When a rapper samples another song in their work, do you believe that this is merely showing respect to the original song and artist or pure laziness where the rapper doesn't have to come up with their own hook?

I heard a couple new rap joints that sampled Jason Mraz's "I'm Your's" and Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" on the way back from Texas yesterday. I didn't know what to think and before I go any further possibly influencing someone's answer, I will stop there.


  1. Sampling has been around ever since the creation of rap. "Rappers Delight" sampled Chic's "Good Times" quite blantantly and it's a hip hop classic. But it does get lazy when you rap over the original song and you don't do much to change it up though.

  2. I think there are a couple of ways in which to approach this form of music. Yes, there are times--more often than not--when an artist uses an old song to try to lazily invent or reinvent him/herself. This is tactic is called an interpolation (the addition of new material in a performance or recording of a previously existing piece of music).

    Notorious B.I.G.--contrary to many people's knolwedge--used this tactic over and over again to create an empire. While his career was short lived, he effectively created successful songs from older works created by other groups. Case in point, arguably his most famous hit "Hypnotize" is an interpolation of several songs. The rhythm is based off of Herb Alpert's song "Rise" and the chorus is based on "La Di Da Di" an old school rap song from Doug E. Fresh. The reason I know this is my roommate at the University of Maryland was huge into finding these very rap songs and their origins. He has a laundry list of rap songs that appear to the general public as original, yet they are far from it.

    Another example that comes to mind is when 2Pac used an interpolation with his song "Changes" from a song titled, "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby.

    Puff Daddy used an interpolation with "I'll Be Missing You" by adding words to The Police's "Every Breath You Take"...Diddy's label, Bad Boy records, is notorious (no pun intended) for using interpolations. Another of Biggie's songs, "N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S." is an interpolation of Duran Duran's song "Notorious"...I could go on and on but I am getting off subject here...

    Clearly, this is an amazingly effective use of new artists to capitalize on old material. I think, when done tastefully, this can pay great respect to the original artist. The best example of a tastefully interpolated song is Public Enemy's song "He Got Game" from a movie staring Denzel back in the '90s (an amazing, yet underappreciated performance by he an Mila Jovovich I might add). The song actually features Stephen Stills who, back in his early days with Buffalo Springfield (pre-Crosby, Stills, and Nash), recorded the song "For What It's Worth" Stills is actually a part of the track toward the end of the song (he is not just recorded over).

    Here is a link if you haven't heard the song...listen all the way through to get Still's part...

    Overall, in today's music culture, I think interpolations are overdone and artists are simply getting to lazy. However, if you study the history of music, and rap in particular, you will find some incredible--very tastful and respectful--songs using this method.

    --Chad Sinclair