Now Back to the Good Part

Something that has always bothered me about rap music is the way they sample entire choruses or verses from songs and rap in between the repeats. These are often with popular songs – especially previous hits. This is also a bit like saying that I don’t like something that is fundamental to an enormous amount of artists in the genre. As the video I’ve included indicates, I’m far from the first person to notice this but I’d like to write briefly about it all the same.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I quite like Michael Bolton and have recently been listening to Blackjack, a band he was briefly lead singer for their brief existence in the very late 70’s and very early 80’s. The album insert mentions that Kanye West sampled one of their songs, only it was re-recorded with a female vocalist.  If you’re interested, West sampled ‘Maybe It’s The Power of Love’ for his song, ‘Never Let Me Down’. If a band as obscure as that could be sampled, it makes me wonder if any melodies or lyrics fused with rap are original at all.

It is easy to understand in the above parody that chorus and the vulgar rhymes fused  between are unrelated but what seems lost on most people is that this is the same for virtually all such music. The Lonely Island parody only works with the mainstream audience because they have made it as blatant as possible. The earliest culprit I can recall doing this is Puffy Daddy who I believe used a song by the Police. The most famous from my youth was Eminem’s ‘Stan’ which used the chorus of a song by the then relatively unknown British artist, Dido. These were both very successful songs and the latter I believe won a Grammy. But were they successful because of the rap or the music that they sampled?

Part of me wonders if the rap added makes it “okay”  for people to enjoy a genre of music they would otherwise not admit to enjoying. I mean “okay” in the sense that teenagers or anyone concerned with what is popularly enjoyed would. And the title of this post suggests, I’m not the only one that finds the samples to be far more pleasing to the ears than the rap that makes up the rest of the song. If you were to ask me, I’d say that this is true for most people and that they just don’t admit it. Then again, I don’t really like rap so I’m not the best person to ask.

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