The code of the beat.

Boi-1da Chops It Up With The Real Frequency

2

The Real Frequency’s “In the Lab Series” Catches up with Drake’s Lead Beatmaker; Raises Question of Sampling’s Originality

By AMIR SAID (SA’ID)

This video interview (via TheRealRequency.com) Shows Boi-1da’s very modest home studio (all I could see was a laptop and a keyboard). Then there’s the usual discussions about past and upcoming projects. Also, Boi-1da plays down the Kia Shine “Best I Ever Had” publishing situation. And he discusses how Drake’s “Forever” came into fruition. Finally, take note to how many projects Boi-1da is submitting beats for; it’s a humble reminder of how the beat placement non-system “works.”

But there’s one thing that I take exception to in this video: Boi-1da’s depiction of sampling, particularly, his implication that sampling is “unoriginal” or rather less-original than non-sampling. Fact is, any musical idea that is conceived and executed by a musician—whether I or anyone else likes it or not—is “original.” Are there levels of originality, absolutely. But using the sample-based beatmaking compositional method (a method that has many sub-forms), is not inherently “un”original!

Furthermore, Boi-1da also describes sampling as “limiting.” Perhaps he may be limited in the scope of music that he can achieve through sampling, but the sampling compositional process itself is not limiting. Beatmakers who utilize the sample-based style of beatmaking get exactly what they want from the art form; it’s their choice. Moreover, as a compositional style, sampling is every bit as rewarding to the beatmaker who wants to utilize it as any other style/method he or she chooses. Imagine someone saying that 12-chord blues is “limiting.” Such a statement holds no merit, as the 12-chord blues structure is the compositional backbone of the blues tradition! Likewise, sampling—the use of recorded sounds and breaks—is the compositional backbone of the hip hop/rap music tradition. Therefore, implying that using the sample-based style to make “hip hop/rap music” is absurd.

Moreover, I should point out that within a given music form and tradition, “originality” is determined, first and foremost, by the execution of ideas of the musician within the form. Hence, the notion of calling synthetic-based beats “original” while implying that sample-based beats are not “original” is absolutely ridiculous and counter productive to the advancement of both beatmaking styles. In the beatmaking tradition, both styles are co-equally “original,” regardless of which style any beatmaker favors. I make beats using both styles, and there is no way that I could honestly consider one style more arbitrarily “original” than the other.

And what’s even more alarming about Boi-1da statements about sampling in this video interview is that he acknowledges that “hip hop came from sampling.” Therefore, I find it odd (and very disheartening) that he would even imply that sampling is not original. It’s one thing to talk about the hassles of clearing a sample as a reason for not wanting to sample. But clearing samples and negotiating publishing points has absolutely nothing to do with the creativity and originality of sampling. Still, I give credit to Boi-1da for saying in the interview that sampling is “good.” I just would have preferred that he curbed the “non-original” rhetoric about sampling.

The video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

In the Lab w/ Boi-1da (via The Real Frequency)


The BeatTips Manual by Sa’id.
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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

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