13/12/2020: “Talkin’ All That Jazz” by Stetsasonic

Sampling has long been a controversial part of hip hop culture. Not within hip hop, of course. But record labels have tended to feel strongly that they ought to get more money when their songs are sampled and reused in hip hop.

And you can see how obscure funk and jazz artists would be slightly put out if their work is used in a popular song and they never see a penny.

This song is a direct, sophisticated and powerful rebuttal to that. I personally have found plenty of old gems through hip hop samples. I think it’s a legitimate art form giving new life to sometimes dusty old tracks.

The funny thing is, Stetsasonic often used live instruments, and were a more traditional ‘band’ than many later hip hop acts. Formed in 1981, they played a large role in the early hip hop scene. This song came out at the end of the decade in 1988, on In Full Gear.

They make a good case that stamping out sampling actually stifles creativity, and that often, sampling is an homage to earlier acts.

In true ironic style, the song samples about 5 other songs, mainly for the drums. The bassline is from Lonnie Liston’s ‘Expansions’, released 1975.

But more tellingly, “Talking All That Jazz” has itself been sampled numerous times in hip hop and dance music, vindicating the point Stetsasonic were trying to make!

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