March 28, 2011

Sampling and Copyright Laws Make Hip Hop Not What It Use To Be

Many classic albums, like the ones pictured here by Public Enemy and De La Soul, produced in the 80's simply could not be made today because of judicial rulings made in courts across America in the late 90's and early 00's. It would cost too much to pay the owners of the publishing rights for the music sampled in these songs.

When people realized that Hip Hop was making major money in the music industry, the natural course of action was for everyone to want a piece of the pie. Lawyers got involved (who seemed to be the only ones who benefited) and essentially wiped out what many would say is Hip Hop's creativity. Many might even question the legitimacy of Hip Hop music because it borrowed so extensively from James Brown, other 60's Soul songs and 70's Funk-Disco records as well in it's early years. The copyright legal fight became so riduculous that George Clinton was even sued for sampling his own music from his group Parliament-Funkadelic.

The radio program "Sound Opinion" takes a look at sampling and review favorite sample-based songs. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk about the history of this postmodern art form and subsequent legal debates with Kembrew McLeod, producer of the film "Copyright Criminals." Among their favorites are Public Enemy, Lupe Fiasco, and A Tribe Called Quest. A fascinating look at sampling. [Listen Here] The show is produced at WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.

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