from Making Beats: the art of sample-based hip-hop

(Joseph G. Schloss, Wesleyan University Press ML3531 .S35 2004)
(winner, Charles Seeger Prize, and taught at UVa...)

A more specific social aspect of this particular project and its value to me personally is the scholarly approach that hip-hop producers themselves take toward collecting old records for sampling purposes. This dovetails nicely with my own tendencies as an ethnomusicologist, insofar as I enjoy collecting records, talking about the minutiae of popular music, and making distinctions between things that are so fine as to be meaningless to the vast majority of people who encounter them. To put it another way, I am a nerd. (16)

Most of the scholars who have studied hip-hop have emerged from disciplines that are oriented to the study of texts or social processes, rather than musical structures. Simply put, it is not the music that interests them in hip-hop... (20-21)

Hip-hop was not created by African-American culture; it was created by African-American people, each of whom had volition, creativity, and choice as to how to proceed. This become apparent when one remembers that hip-hop did not emerge fully formed. Like all musical developments, it grew through a series of small innovations that were later retroactively defined as foundational. Grand Wizzard Theodore, for example, was not forced by his oppressive environment to invent scratching when he deejayed in the mid-1970s; it was a technique that he discovered by accident, liked, and chose to incorporate into his performances. And if he hadn't, there is little realistic reason to assume that someone else would have. While his sociocultural environment nurtured and embraced his innovation, it did not create it. (27)


from Transmit

Music and Musicians titles from Univ Press of New England

review by k. orr