On Sampling

So I cant remember which song I heard first, M.I.A‘s Paper Planes or The Clash’s Straight to Hell, but I think it was M.I.A. Regardless, my feelings are a little conflicted. I love both of these songs (albeit it took a while to get into M.I.A), but I feel guilty. M.I.A sampled Straight to Hell in her song. I do not think that I agree with sampling really.

I think my biggest qualms with it started with hip-hop artists. I didn’t like that they could basically take an awesome oldies song, that original musicians worked really hard to produce, and throw in some of their lyrics, and have a hit. I think that sampling has come a long way, and I admit that I don’t mind a lot of songs that feature sampling (Take it to the House,  that Trick Daddy song, was pretty good). In fact, sampling probably helps resurrect old songs and artists, such as K.C. and The Sunshine Band’s Boogie Shoes (sampled in the above song by Trick Daddy).

But something about it still feels wrong. It seems like cheating to an extent. I guess I might have to get over this, since collage artists do the same thing, and sampling doesn’t stop with top 40 hip-hop (Radiohead has used it some, I know Paranoid Android features a few sampled clips). Perhaps I will have to take a case-by-case basis. It is interesting to hear new takes on old songs via sampling, but at the same time, it’s almost unfair if an entire song is built on a sample.

Critical Thinking Questions:

1. Do you think that sampling is wrong or bad? Why?

2. Do you enjoy any songs that involve a lot of sampling?

3. Where will sampling go next? Will the likes of Girl Talk and other mash-up artists become the norm?

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