17 Artists That Should Never Be Sampled By Hip-Hop Ever Again!

October 17, 2007

It’s no secret that I’m slightly opinionated when it comes to Hip-Hip, but luckily I think the right has finally been earned.  After dedicating years to developing my flare scratch, memorizing production credits, and hunting down obsolete vinyl discs, I feel sucker punched when famous producers jack an obvious sample or dig for records by scanning the 1973 top ten pop charts.

Obviously, the primary reason for making music is to make heads nod; however, an often ignored motive for sampling is to show off your style, taste, digging skills, and record collection while baffling listeners and causing fellow producers to scratch their heads in amazement.  A sampling producer’s task is to simultaneously open up ears and pay homage to an earlier sound while performing a sonic sleight of hand intended to confuse listeners about a track’s origins.  Although that was, and still is, my view of Hip-Hop production, not too many seem to share that same philosophy anymore.  Unfortunately, it’s become commonplace to rework classic and untouchable Hip-Hop beats two, three, or four times before a violation is declared.  We’ll steer clear of the whole ethical argument about clearing samples for now, but let me just say that looping up 8 bars from a Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” simply won’t be taken lying down (shame on producer Missy Elliot) .

With that said, it’s official… the following have been outlawed as of today!   In no particular order, here’s a partial list of artists (feel free to add yours) that have been used, abused, or otherwise over-pillaged and are now considered off limits for sampling.  Sort of like crack rock… oversampling will give you a quick production high, but in the end leave you with a crippled heart, withering soul, and bankrupt morals that only the Bush family could rival.

  1. James Brown
  2. Zapp & Roger (Troutman)
  3. Miles Davis
  4. John Coltrane
  5. Michael Jackson (Jackson 5 is still fair game when done well.  Ex. producers J Dilla, Kanye West, and Wayne-O)
  6. Marvin Gaye
  7. Stevie Wonder
  8. The Doors
  9. Parliament Funkadelic
  10. Ohio Players
  11. Roy Ayers
  12. The Beatles  (Including all solo projects)
  13. Jimi Hendrix
  14. Barry White
  15. The Crusaders
  16. Al Green (especially his drums)
  17. Earth, Wind, & Fire

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