The topic of sampling is one that is typically met with a pretty mixed bag of ill and good will. But if the era of blurred licensing lines has taught us anything, it’s that source artists are looking to get theirs in 2015. In steps Bob James, a jazz legend that’s been sampled on more songs than he himself ever produced, providing some of the sonic bricks and break beats that have built the house of hip-hop. James recently revealed, to much shock and confusion in the community, that he’ll be coming after the Beat Konducta AKA Madlib for his use of “Nautilus” on “Sparkdala” whose sweet, soupy Rhodes and break have been prominent fixtures in cuts from Slick Rick, A Tribe Called Quest, Ghostface Killah, Pete Rock and that’s just a short skim down its’ WhoSampled page. And while this is far from the first time he’s brought the law (having come down on DJ Jazzy Jeff for his use of “Westchester Lady” on “A Touch Of Jazz”) it’s hard to figure why he chose to go after Lib, seeing as how it’s virtually a direct contradiction to a statement we gave WaxPo back in ’08, where he basically embraced his role as one of the musical backbones for the genre, akin to Sly Stone, James Brown, P-Funk and all of soul music’s many, many luminaries. Sure, it’s an odd one, but maybe we should just be getting used to this level of litigation arising in sampling disputes. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on the matter. Read a statemnet from James on the case below.
“From my standpoint, I had to take a stand about it, because the copyright, and the maintaining of the ownership of copyright, are the most valuable and important things that we have in this business. And the control over the usage of it. And to have someone attempt to take that out from under you is a very big deal. And it’s a bigger deal from the standpoint of the record companies than the artist.”