Secrecy is an innate custom in Hip Hop. Its roots transcend creativity, but it manifests itself in every aspect of the culture from DJs covering their records’ labels to the infamous stealth of successful graffiti writers. Producers are no exception.
With the advent of the internet, much of this esteemed confidence that many artists have relied on for years has been compromised. Today, for better or for worse, there are countless websites and blogs dedicated to revealing certain information many forefathers have worked hard to keep under wraps: samples.
When talking about this, one has to understand that it is not only the artist’s secret recipes, so to speak, that are at risk here, but also their livelihood, for there is an army of lawyers and publishers with far more resources standing on guard, poised to attack and hijack this creative process for their own financial gain. Being sued is now a routine play for many producers and attempts to clear samples are often demurred, sometimes requiring 100% of the publishing, which any competent professional would agree is beyond unreasonable.
While this legal climate is, at best, unfortunate for those who pioneered and fostered this art form (many of whom are now senior in every sense of the word except financial security), it’s simply devastating to younger generations who now identify with this highly convoluted, corrupted, choreographed, and, frankly, castrated culture that they mistakenly call “Hip Hop” and I feel this habit of secrecy is, in part, to blame.
It’s hard to respect something you don’t understand.
This is why I have decided to open the Beat Class series, which will reveal samples used in various pieces from my catalog and help you come a little closer to my craft and Hip Hop. I truly want this to be an educational and interactive experience so everyone please share your thoughts, questions, and comments.
Or as Ms. Lippy says, “Let’s involve the class.”
Beat Class #1: Raver
Queen – Breakthru
The Beatles – You Never Give Me Your Money
Yann Tiersen – La Valse d’Amelie (Orchestre)
“Raver,” featured on The Beats You Never Had in 2010, uses some pieces most people have probably heard, but might not recognize at first. This is accomplished by displacing musical phrases from their original context and reconstituting their functional role in the new arrangement. It’s puzzle art.
*Bonus*: Extra points for anyone who can name the sample at the end.