Thursday, October 1, 2015

Classic Corner: To Sample or Not to Sample ?!

by Damone Kelly

    Now I don't normally do this, but it is with great sadness that I announce  that the music of today has all but died. I am not saying that all the artist in the industry today are ghosts but most lack the ability to move the masses or make a loud noise like a poltergeist. I remember the time when big singles were backed with super albums and there wasn't a need to skip a track. But nowadays, the exact opposite has occurred. The listener either is treated to one hit wonders or misses the opportunity to experience an amazing album due to  poor promotion. So artists attempt to sample some of the past hits in hope to bring nostalgic memories of when we use to pay for an album instead of downloading it for free. Today's artist are just obsessed with fads and  refuse  to exhibit original thoughts that will stand the test of time. I am not saying there aren't any worthwhile artists but they're few and far between. The new trend  seems to lean towards mimicking cross country acts like Sam Smith, Adel or Amy Winehouse. However, they don't offer original music or lyrics that can touch that place in our souls! If they did, we as patrons of the industry would be willing to move mountains for them. I now understand what our parents were saying about how we, as a generation, have tarnished their music with bad samples and re-imagined stabs at converting new listeners into the musical cult of "yesteryear".I offer up three different examples of how this has been done correctly, egregiously and  just shockingly ineffective to the point  where I just don't care anymore!

    Let's start with someone  who has done things correctly:Kendrick Lamar  and his take on Anytime Anyplace. This track is clearly him paying proper homage to the queen of my 30 something generation :Ms.Janet Jackson. Now some may argue that Ms. Jackson is not a queen but to us, growing up in the 90's - 2000's ,she reigned supreme due to her dropping hit after hit that inclined everyone to sing. For that reason, I crown her alongside the likes of Mariah Carey, Sade, and Celine Dion. Now this is my personal list so "judge thee not"! I am certain you could add or subtract a few names of your own! Now back to  Mr. Lamar and how he is becoming a legend in his own right. For for him to tackle such a beloved track and do it justice (no pun intended) is an amazing feat within itself. It was this track that put him on my radar and made me want to know more. Kudos to you Kendrick! The lyrics were on point and told a story that went wonderfully with the video while Drake's verse maintained the overall velvety feel of the track.

 Now onto the bad.! During my bi monthly scan of YouTube, I ran across this absurd duo by the name of  Krept & Konan. The only reason I gave them the time of day was because the title of the track was Freak of the Week. Immediately, I was reminded of my,  party all night and still make it to work by 6am, dance-hall club nights. By the way, I pulled off those memorable times sporting a tank top, jeans and a scrunch...go me! So I was curious, to say the least, on how these two would go about reinventing my jam. I must admit,the beat is just as infectious as the original. Still, it  pales in comparison. I mean, how you could begin to challenge the original  track, which had a 14 year vicious holding on the music scene! Not to mention, a guest appearance by hip hop pioneer , Doug E Fresh? I know the answer: you can't! With their debut album cracking number 2 in the UK, this duo had already made quite the name for themselves in London and in the underground hip hop community!I suppose that success prompted them to release this track in a feeble attempt to find success in the states. Unfortunately, despite that infectious beat, which isn't theirs to begin with, the song really doesn't have any redeeming qualities.  The lyrics are sub-par and the video reminds me of a throwback Puffy effort with Jeremih playing a less than stellar Mase, and I actually like Jeremih!

Finally, *Sigh*, I really don't see why people enjoy this song and I would rather not discuss it.However, people are smitten with this track so I will entertain their preference for the next 2.5 seconds. The song in question?  Lil Mama's Sausage! I could use a bevy of four letter words and obscene hand gestures to express my feelings about this song but I will refrain from doing so. I guess the premise is admirable, the promotion of safe sex ,but come on now! To me, she has just taken several popular songs, from my generation, and threw them together like soup after the holidays. Not only did she sample old school hip hop,but she had the audacity to borrow from the queen of soul herself: Mary J Blige. She even went as far as to recreate her look! I just don't understand how you can take a  selection of great songs and turn them into this ugly production so that the masses  can enjoy and play it loud & proud in their vehicles. I have nothing nice to say about this song and only gave it a chance due to sheer curiosity and my sister's affinity with the track. As quickly as it was made popular, it was forgotten, sort of like Lil Mama's career. So yes folks,  this is my opinion and you can like , love, or ignore it! Believe me though, I will survive longer then some of the artist I have mentioned and may even go on to greatness like Mr. Lamar. 

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