In The Crate
By Elyssa Arriaga
Many artists sample music to pay homage to the original artist by taking a song and putting their own twist on it. Sampling music can come in different forms such as taking a portion of another artist’s sound, or reusing lyrics in a different song. This technique has become a common staple in the music industry.
Artists such as The Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls) have been sampling music for decades. Most of Biggie’s music stems from sampled music, and now his music is widely sampled. Songs such as “Mo Money Mo Problems,” where he took Diana Ross’s vocals from her 1980 debut “I’m Coming Out” and lyrics from 112’s song “Only You (Bad Boy Remix)” are examples. Ross’s song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Chart, while Biggie’s song peaked at No. 1 in 1997.
This proved that there is success in reusing a song that is already familiar to the audience. The sense of nostalgia from popular songs during its time creates a remade track for a new generation to enjoy.
Additionally, this summer’s biggest hit “Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, which collected 37.5 million U.S. streams in July 2016, took a classic song from Carlos Santana’s legendary 2000 song “Maria Maria” and introduced a new version to the next generation. The fusion of Santana’s Latin-American sound mixing with Rihanna and Tiller’s vocals provides the audience an urban take on a classic song.
If there was no “Maria Maria,” there would be no “Wild Thoughts.” This poses the question of creativity among artists. Are artists more creative for creating a new song or a remaking a classic song with a modern twist?
According to WhoSampled.com “more than 400,000 songs featuring more than 225,000 samples have been cleared” over the past eight years. This means almost every song has been created by using a part of another song.
Does this mean that the new song is now considered an original song?
Sampled songs get a new makeover changing the message of the song and in many cases the genre. Rapper Big Punisher (also known as Big Pun) had his song “Still Not a Player” sampled for Ariana Grande’s song “The Way” which features Mac Miller. Grande’s song not only uses some music from “Still Not a Player”, but Miller raps the chorus from the song as well, essentially remaking Big Pun’s song, but changing the original message.
Big Pun’s song is about being able to sleep with different women and not having a committed relationship with them. Ariana Grande’s song with Mac Miller is about their relationship together and their love for each other. A completely different meaning and take on the original song. Although the meaning has changed, it could just be the artist’s interpretation of the original song.