Quora Answer : As a HipHop producer, what do you look for in a sample?
These days I'm not very interested in samples.
Although I'm not a professional, I can part agree with Emmanuel Fulton that if you're commercial, you need to worry about intellectual property.
But even as an amateur who doesn't really approve of IP and celebrates hip-hop's history of sampling and creative reappropriation of music, I'm kind of bored with sampling.
Actually, scratch that. Musically, I think the only sampling which has any real interest or validity is sampling of existing records because you want to make a connection with that original. Sampling is a kind of homage / citation / dialogue with the original. So sample classic funk or jazz because you want to point out how cool the bands that made it were. How much you love them.
OTOH, sample loops made in a factory for no reason except to give producers something to work with, leave me a bit cold. It's easy enough to program a loop in a DAW these days, and the synths, sampled instruments available are fantastic. Why do I want 4 seconds of something sequenced by someone else, when I can pretty much do the equivalent myself?
Today, if I sample at all, it's likely to be from "world" or "ethnic" music. And what I want is a feel. For example, I've just been playing with some samples I made by finding YouTube videos of people demonstrating pre-Hispanic Mexican and Peruvian indigenous flutes and whistles. I'm using those samples and those sounds because I'm in love with, and want to tell the world about, how fantastic those sounds are, and how amazing the cultures that invented those whistles and flutes were. (I sample some drum sounds from the same cultures, basically to have a sonority that seems to fit the flutes.) This year I've sample Ethiopian music for similar reasons.
That's basically what I look for in a sample. A feel I want, from an artist I admire and want to "tell the world about" (in some way)
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