Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Gaunt, Kyra. “The Veneration of James Brown and George Clinton in Hip Hop Music: Is it Live! Or is it Re-memory?” In Popular Music: Style and Identity, 117-22. Montreal: Centre for Research on Canadian Cultural Industries and Institutions, 1995.

Hip-hop’s joining together of samples to create a sonic whole is not done to express a “postmodern” stance mocking the linearity and rationality of modernism, but is done to honor black funk musicians of the past, especially James Brown and George Clinton. “Live” in black culture can mean “excellence,” and in recordings connotes a live-performance aesthetic which is contrary to the polished sound of the recording industry. Brown and Clinton sought to create this live aesthetic in their recordings through crowd noise and other signifiers of live performance. Comparing James Brown’s Make It Funky to Public Enemy and producer Hank Shocklee’s Fight the Power (which samples the Brown track) shows that the funk ideals of the 1970s are utilized in hip-hop. Thus, “live” in hip-hop is not in a binary with recorded sound, but is an act of “re-memory,” or a piecing together of a history by “remembering” critical pieces of the past.

Works: Eric B &Rakim: I Know You Got Soul (117); Janet Jackson: That’s the Way Love Goes (118); Public Enemy: Fight the Power (119-20).

Sources: James Brown: Papa Don’t Take No Mess (118), Make It Funky (119).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Nathan Landes

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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