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Questlove Makes An Appeal For Musical, Educational Benefits Of Samples

Questlove Makes An Appeal For Musical, Educational Benefits Of Samples

by William Ketchum III
September 11, 2016 5:43 PM

Questlove Makes An Appeal For Musical, Educational Benefits Of Samples

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

In an Instagram post, Questlove explained that he heard a familiar sample while driving home after spinning at his Bowl 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 purchased the entire 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 halfway….it’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, so hip-hop artists aren’t able to use them very 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 rapper told 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 artists don’t the resources to clear samples the way he does. So as Questlove said, the art – and the musical education of artists and listeners – will continue to suffer.

This is what’s beautiful about hip hop. And this is what I wish publishers and record labels realized. By making sampling unobtainable and only an option for the rich (let’s face it: Ye & Hov the only cats who can afford samples in hip hop) but what these greedy lawyers and corporate leeches don’t comprehend is that sampling is an education AND it gives back. Driving home from #BowlTrain & I hear on #WRTI jazz a song and in its last seconds I hear a familiar sample. I Shazam it and I COPPED THE ORIGINAL —actually entire album. 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 Label and Publishing House presidents of you meet hip hop half way….it’ll do you some good!!!

A video posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on



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