Lets face it, there’s not much under the sun that’s new, and that’s if there even is anything that’s new under the sun. Whether people intentionally or unintentionally copy someone else’s material, or incorporate ideas they were inspired by into their own material, it most likely has been done before. Photography, film, music, and many more art forms have patterns that occur amongst their artists and although many of the things performed within the boundaries of these specific art forms, or even amongst crossbreeds of art forms, may appear as new, they’re really not. In today’s time with advancements in technology, social media, and history repeating itself, it’s much more obvious and simply much easier to come across something that has already been done and has probably been occurring for a very long time just without the rest of the world’s knowledge. These technological advances, and the Internet, especially with its social networks, have allowed people to perform remixes of just about any art form they like, as well as allowing them to even remix remixes. In fact, earlier this week I watched a sports interview video with rapper Lil’ Wayne as a guest and on it he stated, “…because of social media there’s no such thing as a remix. Your song is going to get remixed and the world is going to able to hear everybody’s version. Back then if you made a remix you would only hear that person’s remix when that person released it” and I felt that there was a great deal of truth to that statement. Things have changed dramatically over the last couple of decades and whether it is a hobby, a form of comedy for the individual remixing, the lack of motivation and willingness to work hard and try to create from scratch, or an individual being inspired by the world in hopes that the world is inspired by them, remixing occurs much more often and may even soon be a lost and undervalued art form.
Artist Kanye West, 39, from Chicago, Illinois, is one of many that remixes or does what’s better known as sampling. Many of his songs, especially from his earlier studio albums such as College Dropout and Late Registration include samples. Of course sampling, referencing melodies, chord progressions, and even lyrics isn’t anything new. Although West isn’t always creating from scratch and artists have been sampling long before West, the way West goes about incorporating samples into his music that gives him his own style as an artist and makes him and his material unique. The way he goes about filling just about every part of his songs with vocals that are edited with reverbs, compressions, synthesizers, and much more to replicate instruments for his instrumentals is something many of today’s time don’t do even with all the forms of remixing occurring on the internet. Kanye West’s inspiration from older songs that he uses as samples in his music is a form of remixing within itself but is also inspiration for many other to did deep into their creativity and create something associated with their own style based off their influences as well. I feel when an individual simply copies material from another individual and considers it remixing it is frowned upon and not considered remixing. I think when individuals such as Kanye West “copy” or remix to create something that’s new to a generation it’s inspiring and goes to show people how far they can push the boundaries of the art form of music as well as the boundaries of the art form of remixing other art forms.
Kanye West’s Samples