Sampling in music easily ranks as one of the most debated topics in music with artists firmly planted on both sides of the fence. New York-based producer and audio engineer Young Guru recently shared his thoughts on the sampling debate as part of an in-depth and informative Popcast with PopTech.org.
During the Popcast, Young Guru attempted to breakdown the difference between sampling and outright stealing. The noted musicman used various examples including Jay-Z’s “Heart Of The City” which features a sample from Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City.”
“I want to play you an original and then I want to play you one of the compositions that I’ve been involved with with Jay-Z,” said Young Guru before playing both Jay-Z and Bland’s records. “And normally what would happen is that we’d scour through old record bins, record stores, and we would pretty much dig up whatever we could out of our parents collections and things like that…In this record we sampled probably four to eight bars of the song so obviously it’s pretty clear that we have to get a sample clearance for what we use. The problem comes in when you break a song down into parts that are almost unrecognizable by the original user.”
To further expound upon the difference between sampling and piracy, Young Guru turned to Al Green’s “I’m Glad You’re Mine” to demonstrate to the audience how a sample from the record is pulled.
“That’s where we get into the whole question of remixing and how much value is on intellectual property because obviously I’m changing his pattern into my pattern by using his original sounds,” Guru explained. “So this is just to give you a clearer idea of some of the problems that we face and some of the questions that have to be answered because the law as of yet has not been fully written and described in every situation.”