B.B.King sampled- an abomination

J.J. Perry jjperry@BLUEMARBLE.NET
Sat Jun 13 13:58:16 EDT 1998


On Wed, 14 Jan 1998, William Sakovich wrote:

> Rich Gonzalez  quotes Wolfson:
>
> > > If you can't make your OWN music, shut up and go home.
> >
> > Shut up and go home?
> > Wow, you old farts trip me out. I guess the response could be:
> >
> > If you can't accomodate a new idea in any way whatsoever, then
> maybe you
> > should get into another business.
>
> I don't think it's a new idea, Rich. Musicians stealing from other
> musicians is a very old thing.
>
> Before, however, when they wanted to steal, they actually had to
> learn the lick or vocal inflection before they could do it. Imitating
> is actually part of the learning process.

It's not that simple, it didn't start out as imitating. If you
had any knowledge of the culture, you wouldn't dismiss it so
readily.

When hip hop started in the *early 1970s*, it was the domain of
poor kids who couldn't afford instruments, who could afford cheap
records and a turntable. It wasn't thievery, it was brand new,
something to do, and the guys who were good at it (Grandmaster
Flash being the best, probably) are being ripped-off today
by commercials for McDonalds.

It wasn't until mainstream America picked up on hip hop that
the whole thing became commercial and stupid. MC hammer and Puff
Daddy and the like. God, of course that sucks.

> The only new idea I can see here is that they just copy it straight
> from tape to tape without having to bother learning anything at all.

But it's not as easy as that. Please, in all honesty, go to your
local library or call a friend or someone and borrow, say, Public
Enemy's "It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back." Built
almost entirely on drum loops and samples. Pick the samples that
you recognize and can say "they're stealing." How many samples can't
you pick out? How many are familiar, but put in a different context?
That's sampling, and that's creative, IMO.

Don't confuse Puff Daddy rapping over a Led Zep song (which is
kind of appropriate, I think) to real sampling.

> And hey, that's not a new idea either. University students have tried
> to do essentially the same thing during exams for generations.

Yes, you take someone else's idea or quote, put it in the context
of your paper or exam to create a new idea based on something
else, and give a footnote at the bottom. That sounds like a good
paper to me.

> You young guys crack me up.

Considering the first generation of hip hop artists in the '70s
were in their mid- to late-teens, that would make them late
'30s today. Not so young anymore, eh? (Or far removed from you, either,
I take it?)

Rap and sampling are the voice of young Black America today. I
gotta agree with Corey Harris, it is the blues of today, a continuation
of Muddy Waters, Otis Redding and everyone else, much more so
than the "blues artists" of today who were turned on by The Allman
Brothers.

But that's just MO.

J.J.

"Blues Shot" www.bluemarble.net/~jjperry



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