Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Marshall, Wayne. “Giving up Hip-Hop’s Firstborn: A Quest for the Real after the Death of Sampling.” Callaloo 29 (Summer 2006): 868-92.

By examining the criticism and liner notes written by The Roots’ drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), the notion that sampling is what determines authenticity in hip-hop can be questioned. Though Questlove frequently admits that sampling is highly important to hip-hop, he notes that many of the earliest and some of the most successful hip-hop recordings use studio instrumentalists performing “samples” of hit breaks and grooves. He also notes the ability of producers to sample is severely limited by the amount of money required to license many well-known samples. When performing and recording with The Roots, Questlove has sought to recreate the sound and rhythmic character of sampled drums through various studio techniques and playing in a funk-based, relatively invariable fashion. Examples of this can be found on “Dynamite” and “Double Trouble” from Illadelph Halflife. The Roots have also utilized beatboxers Scratch and Rahzel, who can imitate the sounds of samples and record scratching in their beatboxing. Such efforts to mimic sampled sounds on “traditional” instruments demonstrate both the importance of sampling for hip-hop and the desire to explore other avenues of music making while staying true to hip-hop’s essence.

Works: De La Soul: Transmitting Live from Mars (868); Biz Markie: Alone Again (868); Afrika Bambaataa: Planet Rock (874); Grandmaster Flash: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel (874); Sugar Hill Gang: Rapper’s Delight (874); Yes: Owner of a Lonely Heart (876); Common: Like Water for Chocolate (876); The Roots: Concerto of the Desperado (880).

Sources: Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark (songwriters) and The Turtles (performers): You Showed Me (868); Gilbert O’Sullivan: Alone Again (Naturally) (868); Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (874); Funk Inc.: Kool is Back (876); Lionel Bart: Theme from From Russia with Love (880).

Index Classifications: 1900s, 2000s, Popular

Contributed by: Nathan Landes

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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