Rant: Sampling and Swedish House

I just want to rant about two things: Blatant song stealing and over sampling and the gray area between leading to (in my opinion) the cheapening of house music. Sampling has been a tried and true method of creating music. Straight up covering songs has been too. With proper recognition it’s fine, but there’s a cardinal rule that always has to be followed: If you cover or sample a song, you must at least do justice to the original. A few (very brief) examples of people who have done it right in the modern pop world:

The Fugees (covering Roberta Flack)

Puff Daddy (sampling The Police)

Will Smith (sampling Kool & The Gang, while acknowledging the same IN SONG) And yes, I realize that this man arguably hasn’t come up with an original song since (to my knowledge) “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. All of his hits have sampled 70s and 80s soul hits

Modern house (I think we’re calling it Swedish House now, after the debacle of French house mercifully has passed us) has basically sold out to the radio, something I wish had happened fifteen years ago when the shit was good, and now everyone and their mothers apparently can’t put anything “original” on the decks anymore. If blatant song stealing and not doing justice to it were a crime, Pitbull should be sentenced to death and fucking executed right fucking now. I don’t give a damn if I get hit for not liking the in thing right now, the fact remains that Pitbull has shamelessley stolen tracks from other artists and abused them. Prime example: rapping on top of Nicola Fasano’s “75 Brazil Street” to make “Calle Ocho”. As in took the entirety of the track, touched NOTHING, and just rapped over the top of it. A YEAR AFTER IT DROPPED. Keep in mind the fact that Fasano and Rich sampled Bucketheads’ “The Bomb! (These Sounds Keep Falling Into My Mind)” After making a crapload of money on that joint, he has progressed to taking the most notable hooks from older songs and just bro-ing them out (his new joint with Christina Aguilera where they just run roughshod over a-ha. A-HA!)

I could have maybe let it go at that, as a moderately talented (I give the benefit of the doubt) rapper at best, hype boy at worst, but unfortunately, he’s not the only offender in the game. I have a musical fatwa out T.I. This comes from the genre of music who dissed and hated on techno music from the start (reference Eminem vs. Moby), never mind the fact that they were essentially both created by the same mainstream band (Blondie. You don’t believe me, look it the hell up. First band to hardcore use synths, first band to rap (“Rapture”), thanks Debbie Harry!) First, T.I. takes the organ riff from Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and drops a slow as hell version into “Why You Wanna”, which is a mediocre track. Now if he had left it there, I could have forgiven him. But then he had to commit the ultimate. SOB put a beat on the goddamn Numa Numa son! I’m sorry, what? Yeah he did. You don’t believe me? It’s called “Live Your Life” Yeah, that track with Rhianna (which makes her guilty as an accessory after the fact). For doing that, you can stand down, turn in your fakeass hard card, and give the guard your testicale on the way out. You don’t get to cop one of the most ridiculous, memified songs on the web and claim you’re hard. To say nothing of the fact that the Numa Numasong (Dragostea Din Tei, if we’re gonna be technical) SHOULD NEVER EVER BE MADE GANGSTA, HARD OR HOOD!

Okay, breathe…



The second component to his rant is something that’s just more a question of “Really?” Other than the fact that she’s dead (and may she rest in peace), is there a reason everyone and their mothers is scrambling to cover/sample Whitney Houston? Specifically, in the span of 24 hours, I’ve heard two likely to be summer anthems of 2013 that sample “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”. Now, that’s probably my favorite track from Whitney, it’s also the earliest I remember (and it took effort because I was five when it dropped), and it’s certainly the most 80s as hell track from her too, but damn, really? Cube Guys straight covered it with Barbara Tucker on vocals, which is a good call, and they more or less did justice to it, even though I hate the sound of this radio friendly house stuff (thank you David Guetta and thanks again Pitbull, you bastard). Lumidee feat. Fatman Scoop just took the main hook and dropped it in in two places, but otherwise rapped on their own beat. Not sure if they did it justice, but they just took a quick hit, rather than heavily lean on it

Am I over exaggerating? Probably. It’s very like a case of I’m-getting-old-itis. But even still, if you don’t have any respect for yourself in the music biz, at least respect the work you’re gonna shameless use to make (likely) more money than the originals, and for God’s sake, give them a credit on the track.