By Zeck Wreck aka Jerry Nice
I was strolling through the internets this morning (as I ususally do before diving into my workload), when I came across a very interesting article over at Hip-Hop is Read:
The basis of this article (as the title suggests) deals with sample sets and if they are damaging to the art of cratedigging in hip-hop production. Namely, Madlib (the Beat Konducta himself) seems to have some sort of gripe with these types of listings.
Now I’m not going to get too deep into the article itself, but as a dedicated cratedigger, I thought I should share my point of view on this…
Here’s the deal. Hip-hop is not what it once was (SURPRISE!). The dedication to digging for beats and looking for rare samples just isn’t the same. In the early 90’s, the more abstract and original your samples were, the more credibility you had as a hip-hop producer (i.e. Diamond D, Pete Rock, etc..). And for the most part, this golden era mentality made sharing sample sets nearly unheard of.
I would like to think of a guy like Madlib (and Stones Throw for that matter) as being a direct descendent of this hip-hop golden age. As far as sampling goes, a majority of his production (if not all) is sample-heavy, and he probably prides himself very much on these cratedigging abilities.
That being said, I understand his stance on this matter…Especially with a classic (yeah, I said it) like Madvillainy, which may be his best work yet. From this standpoint, I can see where he gets a little aggy when the internet gets ahold of his work. Madlib is a golden era producer by nature, and this is probably the main reason for all the commotion on his end. It’s a sense of pride that many internet heads (and hip-hop fans) can’t grasp, especially when someone like Madlib has dedicated himself 100% to the music.
Not only that, but think about all the people who have ripped his music online already…
But like I said before, hip-hop is not what it once was. Where all production used to be based on rare samples, now a majority of the current top-dogs (i.e. Neptunes, Timbaland, etc..) don’t even use samples to their advantage. Today, it’s all about being synth-heavy with some booty bass to back it up (for dem clubs)..
Since this is the day and age we live in, it is more important than ever to make the art of digging still relevant. This is why sample sets (like the one for Madvillainy) should be encouaraged…Not only does it regenerate excitement about previous albums, but it also showcases the abilities of each individual producer. Most importantly, it makes beat digging relevent again in a time where it could be considered a lost art.
I do understand Madlib’s point of view and can sympathize, but I also see the importance of sample sets. Where it’s hard for the record collector in me to admit this, I still realize that the times have changed. Now more than ever, we need to back these kind of collections, in hopes of keeping true hip-hop alive.