Hip-hop, a constantly evolving genre, has seen a surge of new artists emerging on the scene. These up-and-coming rappers often draw inspiration from the iconic artists of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Sampling has always been a part of hip-hop, with artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, and the late producer, J-Dilla, pushing boundaries and creating original sounds. However, some argue that the new generation of hip-hop artists is guilty of over-sampling, leading to a lack of originality in their music and possibly hurting the genre’s growth.
Many new-school hip-hop artists have faced criticism for their over-reliance on samples in their music. Fans have pointed out several points regarding the usage of sampling. One user wrote, “Sampling has always been a part of hip-hop, however, these new rappers are overdoing it. It’s like they use 2000s beats as a cushion when they run out of ideas.”
However, the problem lies not in sampling itself, but rather in how effectively the samples are incorporated. Old-school rappers like Jay-Z and Kanye West were masters at seamlessly blending samples into their music, creating a sense of originality.
Modern Artists Vs. Old School Artists
Modern artists, such as Saweetie, GloRilla, Coi Leray, and more, often limit their exploration of music history to the 90s and early 2000s with their songs. For example, Saweetie’s “Tap In” extensively relies on Too Short’s 2006 track “Blow The Whistle,” while Coi Leray’s “Players” incorporates elements from Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s iconic “The Message,” resulting in the samples being easily recognizable within their tracks, diminishing the sense of creativity and originality.”
Regarding this, a fan wrote, “90s hip-hop was built on the backs of sampling legends like James Brown and the Isley Brothers. 2000s sampled 80s pop and R&B. The problem isn’t the sampling it’s how it’s being produced that is the problem IMO.”
Lack Of Authenticity
In a recent statement to TMZ, rapper Christian Combs, also known as King Combs, openly confessed that he finds it difficult to turn down the opportunity to create a “hit” track. He acknowledged his continued use of sampling in his music, even though he’s trying to move away from this practice.
Combs has gained recognition for sampling 90s tracks, particularly those from the Bad Boy Records catalog. A prime example of this is his hit single ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” featuring Kodak Black, which samples Lil Kim’s 1997 track “Crush On You.”
Ironically, industry mogul Diddy has expressed his reservations about the state of music:
“The art of production has been lost. No shade to anybody but a Producer is somebody who has the ability to have a vision for a song that is greater than just the beat or the lyrics. He continued, “The producer is the one that co-pilots the experience with the artists. The Producer’s job is to bring the best out of the artists. The Producer’s job is to bring the best out of the song.”
Within hip-hop, an enduring debate revolves around the genre’s condition. Many questions regarding the stature of rap music arose, as it took a full year for hip-hop to secure the coveted No.1 position on the Billboard charts.
Broadening Musical Horizons
Expanding on this narrative, Nicki Minaj achieved this milestone before Doja Cat’s reign with her 2022 single “Super Freaky Girl,” which incorporated a sample from Rick James’ 1981 hit ‘Super Freak,’ reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
Furthermore, Doja’s chart-topping hit, “Paint The Town Red,” skillfully drew inspiration from Dionne Warwick’s timeless 1964 track “Walk On By.” By broadening their musical horizons beyond the confines of the 90s and 2000s, hip-hop artists have the opportunity to create new sounds and avoid falling into the trap of excessive sampling, thus challenging the notion of oversampling and “lack of originality.”
Is The Era Of Superstardom Over?
As hip-hop continues to evolve, questions are being raised about the era of superstardom in music as a whole. Executives in the industry express concern and a sense of “depression” as they navigate the challenges of nurturing new big stars.