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Questlove Makes An Appeal For Musical, Educational Benefits Of Samples
Photo by Shayan Asgharnia | Questlove serves effortless cool before taking the stage at Roots Picnic.
Photo by Shayan Asgharnia for Okayplayer

Questlove Makes An Appeal For Musical, Educational Benefits Of Samples

The Faces Of Roots Picnic 2016: Backstage Portraits By Shayan Asgharnia

Sampling is one of the pillars of hip-hop, but costs and trends are causingthe methodto be used less and less. Aftera drive home from a recent gig, Questlove reminded his social media followers about the musical and educational value of sampling.

In an Instagram post, Questloveexplained that he heard a familiar sample while driving home after spinning at hisBowl Train show in Brooklyn, New York City, he heard a familiar sample on the radio. He used Shazam to pinpoint the song that was sampled, and he purchasedtheentire original album.

"What these greedy lawyers and corporate leeches don't comprehend is that sampling is an education AND it gives back," Questlove wrote. "...I get enlightened with more great music and the label gets another investment in its product from me 40 years after its release.

"This is when music is beautiful. It isn't beautiful when you don't reinvest in your crops for real," he continued. "Label and Publishing House presidents if you meet hip hop'll do you some good!!!"

Questlove made the appeal to label and publishing house presidents because record companies are pinching their wallets; samples are expensive to clear,sohip-hop artists aren't able to use themvery much.These days, he says, Jay Z and Kanye West are the only hip-hop artists who can afford them.

Danny Brown, for one, is still invested in the art of sampling. The Detroit rappertold Rolling Stone that his new label home, the UK-based indie Warp Records, forked over an astounding $70,000 to clear all of the samples on his upcoming album Atrocity Exhibition.

"A lot of people cheap. And that's why their music sounds cheap,"Brown said. "I wanna make timeless stuff, so you're gonna have to spend a couple dollars. You could have a Rolex or you can have a Swatch."

But Brown is an exception to the rule: many artistsdon't the resourcesto clear samples the way he does. Soas Questlove said, the art - and the musical education of artists and listeners - will continue to suffer.