According to Bronx rapper Kool Keith, the city of New York is to blame for the belief that a particular sound in music is appointed to a certain region.
In a newly-published interview, the Hip Hop veteran spoke with Vlad TV about bass music and 808s, and revealed that those particular sounds are universal and not assigned to any city or region.
The rapper then stated that those in New York ran away from their own sound and instead relied heavily on music that incorporated samples, making it a “sample city.”
“Everybody got a miscommunication with [what] bass music is,” Kool Keith said. “I think the 808s, snare drum, you know, a lot of people think it belongs to certain regions. It’s all over. I mean, when Run-DMC came up, ‘Together Forever’ and the Def Jam stuff. That was all 808s stuff and the drums. And the same type of kits. But now all of a sudden it’s supposed to be just in a certain region. Like they think the South’s supposed to only have it, Texas and Miami and maybe Atlanta. I think those drums are still universal. They can be used anywhere. I think where New York messed up was they ran away from they own sound. New York was the first using the 808s and the bass and stuff. The vision of the music industry saying that we gotta sample and go find samples from records, it made New York more of a sample city. And a city that ran away from they own original sound.”
Kool Keith revealed that at times he too gets tired of sampling records in his music. He says that if today’s artists were to ease up on sampling they could become the artists who musicians sample years from now.
“I’m getting tired of sampling records myself,” he said. “It’s time to make original stuff. What’s the matter with turning on the keyboards? You got people who think it’s a crime to use a keyboard. You get 10 years to life if you play your keys on your song. It’s cool to sample, but let those guys—Let somebody else become a creative. Let somebody else coming up become a synthesizer player. Or let me be Billy Preston one day. Let me grow up and people sample me.”
Kool Keith first got his start in music in the 1980s as a member of the Bronx-based rap group Ultramagnetic MC's. In addition to albums released as a member of the Ultramagnetic MC's, Kool Keith released well over a dozen solo albums, including Love & Danger.