Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Stratton, Jon. “Sampling and Jewishness: A Short History of Jewish Sampling and Its Relationship with Hip-Hop.” Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 34 (March 2016): 50-75.

Histories of hip-hop typically link the vital practice of sampling with African American culture, but a parallel history of sampling by Jewish artists—in particular, Steinski (Steven Stein), the Beastie Boys, and Beck—reveals a practice driven by Jewish worldviews that exists outside of hip-hip. The concept of fragmentation is pervasive in both religious and secular Jewish culture, leading to a cultural affinity toward sampling. An early precursor to sampling by Jewish artists is Frank Silver and Irving Cohn’s 1922 song Yes! We Have No Bananas, the chorus of which is a patchwork of quotations from other songs. Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman’s 1956 novelty song The Flying Saucer, which samples eleven recent pop songs as “answers” to a reporter’s questions about an alien invasion, has a more direct link to later hip-hop sampling. Steinski himself recognizes The Flying Saucer as a precursor to his sampling technique. Double Dee (Doug DiFranco) and Steinski released The Payoff Mix in 1983, the first of their underground The Lesson series. The Payoff Mix is distinctive in both the extent of sampling and the function of sampling as the foundation of the track. Double Dee and Steinski’s synthesis of samples into a new, seamless whole mirrors the kabbalistic account of creation. In 1989, the Beastie Boys released their second album, Paul’s Boutique, which built on Steinski’s sampling aesthetic in its use of over a hundred samples throughout the album. The layered construction of sampling in Paul’s Boutique was also anticipated by The Lesson series. In his 1993 song Loser, alternative rock artist Beck uses samples as parody, recalling Jewish insider-outsider humor. The relationship between Jewish thought and sampling long preceded hip-hip and is similar to, but distinct from, African American sampling.

Works: Beastie Boys: Rhymin’ and Stealin’ (51-52), License to Ill (album) (64, 67), Paul’s Boutique (album) (67-68); Frank Silver and Irving Cohn: Yes! We Have No Bananas (60-61); Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman: The Flying Saucer (61-63); Double Dee (Doug DiFranco) and Steinski (Steven Stein): The Lesson: The Payoff Mix (62, 63-67); John Oswald: Dab (66); Beck: Loser (68-69)

Sources: Led Zeppelin: When The Levee Breaks (51-52); Black Sabbath: Sweet Leaf (51-52); The Clash: I Fought The Law (51-52); Handel: Messiah, HWV 56 (60); Traditional: My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean (60), Seeing Nellie Home (60); Cole Porter: An Old-Fashioned Garden (60); Michael William Balfe: The Bohemian Girl (60); The Platters: The Great Pretender (61); Elvis Presley: Heartbreak Hotel (61); Smiley Lewis: I Hear You Knocking (61); Little Richard: Tutti Frutti (62); G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid: Play That Beat Mr. DJ (63-65); Hamilton Bohannon: Take The Country To New York City (65); The Supremes: Stop! In The Name of Love (65); Indeed: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life (65); Culture Club: I’ll Tumble 4 Ya (65); Michael Jackson: Bad (66); Malcolm McLaren: Dude Rock (66); Dr. John Creaux (Mac Rebennack, songwriter), Johnny Jenkins (performer): Walk On Gilded Splinters (68)

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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