Mississippi producer/emcee Big K.R.I.T. recently sat down with US Rap News as a part of their “#1on1” video series while in France. During the interview, the Def Jam artist discussed the use of samples in modern Hip Hop and how the legal issues inherent to sampling have affected his own music.
K.R.I.T. said that he has yet to completely wrap his head around the issue, as sampling tip-toes a line between between art and theft. He added that the definition of sampling is murky, as many artists sample other individuals’ ideas without enduring the legal ramifications of sampling an actual song. Still, he said that he feels that the art of sampling may soon disappear from Hip Hop due to the legal risk producers face.
“Sampling is an interesting [art]; it’s a difficult thing to say, because you use something [older] in order to create something new,” he explained. “In everyday life, we do that anyway…technically, there’s people that I’ve had conversations with that have given me thoughts or ideas and I’ve used them, so technically, they could also be offended by me using some of these ideas. But it’s like in everyday life, you take from something in order to create something brand new. The difference with music is that it’s documented. My album was a situation where I was running out of time and I was dealing with sample clearances and you’re not just gonna use a sample and not clear it if you’re talking about your retail album – that’s just crazy. So we pushed it back in order for me to clear these samples, get ’em taken care of, or just scrap the sample and re-play something brand new, which is better than getting sued.”
He added, “Mixtapes have always been a free thing just for the general public as far as I was concerned. Growing up, there was mad mixtapes that I listened to – I’m not gonna call ’em out – but there were artists rapping over over peoples’ instrumentals, or mad samples…and the fact that it was free was like, ‘Aw, it’s okay.’ Nowadays, it’s coming to the point where it’s not okay at all, and creatively, I think it does take away from music just a tad bit because ever since Muddy Waters and before then, people were replaying gospel records…and turning them into [popular R&B records]…music has always been re-created and re-sampled, but I think more than ever with technology, you can really tell what you sampled and where it came from and people want to get paid for it.”
Check out the full interview below.