For a long time people have collected records merely to collect them or, in many more cases, to have the ability to boast and brag about how rare or weird or expensive the new addition to your collection is. But since it's beginning there has been an off branch of a different kind of collector. One of rare "drum breaks", unusual narration, rare sound FX records etc. All of which are collected mainly for "sampling". Some view it as a trite and talent-lacking form of musicianship, where as some people view it as a delicate and mysterious art. I intend to defend both sides.|
Sampling has been a big part in the history of hip-hop, and through the years many samples have become cult classics. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for grabs. In most cases the sample remains a mystery and no one is to know where it came from, which can seem very selfish or even of a vandalistic nature to some. As a matter of fact, in the early years of DJ competitions some DJ's would wash the labels off of their most prized records so that other DJs would have a harder time finding them for fear of them taking "their" sample or drum break. This has added to the art as it has deducted from the music that they are sampling. Case in point, Jimmy Smith and his funk song "Root Down". By its self it is a very wonderful moment in funk, but from now on it will be known as the prominently sampled record used for the Beastie Boys song "Root Down". Even the reissues of this Jimmy Smith record have admitted to this, boasting stickers that say the Beastie boys sampled parts of this album. As if self proclaiming it no good for any other reason.
On the flip side, who's to say that there isn't an art in finding and being able to access many samples from many records, knowing which will work with each other. In my opinion, the art of sampling can be considered a fine art in some cases, such as DJ Shadow. DJ Shadow is known for his elaborate record collection and knowledge of each record. He can orchestrate things with his records that would just blow you away. He knows instrumentals, where to loop them, where a drum break that will fit a track exists, what narration and samples will fit on that track. And after listening to an album of his such as "Entroducing", you get a feel for the skill and what time it must take to hone.
So all in all, sampling is a mixed blessing. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.
Jimmy Smith - Root Down:
Beastie Boys - Root Down:
DJ Shadow - Entroducing:
What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4)