Had an interesting convo with homie a while back about looped up beats. You know the ones, the beat is in essence just a loop (predominantly soul thanks to yeezy’s pwnage of said genre).
The bro has been messing round and making beats for a bit and was of the opinion that there’s no real skill or creativity needed when you’re just slapping on some drums, bass, and maybe some strings in the hook. Another bro suggested digging for those samples was part of the art and a skill in itself.
Alphabethead said this about it in his blog:
When making sample-based music I feel I’ve succeeded when, rather than the old ‘Oh, he just slightly tweaked Kraftwerk’ type of response I elicit more of a ‘What the hell was that? Was it Frank Sinatra or Frank Zappa?’ The further removed my piece is from the original the better. This kinda sums up my thoughts on sampling. I have absolutely no qualms about using another artist’s work just as long as:
(a) The ‘sample’ of another piece of work is a ‘component’ or ‘element’ in the new work rather than the ‘crux’.
(b) The work can be viewed as a new composition in its own right and doesn’t decrease the artistic merit or impinge on the viability of the existing piece.
Of course what defines a ‘new composition’ or constitutes an ‘element’ is certainly a contentious issue. I’ve found that proving a piece of sample-based music is (at least) equal to the sum of its parts can be an uphill battle…
I think as a beatmaker you can get caught up in making sure you’re doing the above, but from an MCs perspective, regardless of how many times you’ve heard a sample, or even an instrumental, it’s never gonna be the same as those previous joints after you’ve put your words on the canvas. Personally, if I find a loop that I haven’t heard used before, and I wanna rap on it, I’ll make it into a beat so I CAN rap on it, means to an end. Any sort of ‘that’s not creative’ doesn’t get a second of entertainment throughout the process, because I’m always thinking about the end result of words over beat. Keen to hear your thoughts on the topic if you’ve got any…
If you haven’t listened to Outta my Hands …firstly, we’re not friends anymore, and secondly – it’s just down there… but here’s what I sampled for that beat: