So as I was listening to some music earlier today and I stumbled across a familiar Michael Jackson classic, “Lady in My Life. (I still have a hard time believing he’s gone.) However the version I was listening to definitely wasn’t the original. In fact, it was an instrumental coupled with some newly added flair from jazz drummer and percussionist, Jacob Melchior. (Add him to your list of cats to check out.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed what I heard. But it started me thinking about how music affects each of us differently given the time, place, artist, and circumstance in which we experience it. And that thought led to another and another, which ultimately got me to thinkin’ about the common practice of sampling in today’s music. (Yeah, I know…my musical thoughts were all over the place today, but it couldn’t be helped.)
Sampling. Borrowing. Or whatever you might want to call it has been around for a long time. Love it or hate it…it’s probably here to stay. And as I let my mind wander some more, I arrived at the question…”What happens when today’s artist run out of things to sample?” “Who’s making original music that will be sample-worthy 20 years from now?” (That sparks an idea for future discussion.) But…I digress.
Sadly enough, the sampled creation often gets more praise and/or accolades than the original. Let me show you a few examples of what I mean. I’ll start with an easy one. Up first…the sample:
I’m sure most folks recognize this one without hesitation: The Notorious Biggie Smalls’ “One More Chance.” But the real challenge is in naming the artist and title of the original song. Now take a listen to the original:
See what I mean? Most folks would have difficulty with naming Debarge as the group, let alone the title of the song as “Stay With Me.”
Ok, we’ll do one more example. First the sample–another easy one and a personal fave from Camp Lo–“Luchini” :
Did you remember that it was DYNASTY who first sang “Adventures in the Land of Music?”
Now, let’s be clear and set the record straight. I am not an extremist, anti-sampling kinda girl. I just believe in givin’ credit, where credit is due. And with that, I encourage us all to stay teachable. Take the extra step. Look deeper into the origins of that “new” jam you’re bobbin’ your head to. Chances are our grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles were bobbin’ their heads to it first…imagine that!
Until next time…
(And don’t worry, this is the first of many installments of “Samples vs. Originals. Pickin’ out originals is one of my most favorite musical past times! We’ll roll-up our sleeves and really start “crate-diggin” in the weeks and months ahead!)