Album: In Full Gear

Label: Tommy Boy

Prince Paul:“That was inspired when Daddy-O and MC Delite were listening to Mtume, who made ‘Juicy Fruit,’ which in turn was used for the Biggie record. [Mtume] was kind of disrespecting hip-hop. I might stand corrected on this, but he was dissing hip-hop saying that it’s not original and it’s not really an art form. It kind of ticked Daddy-O off, and he came up with this idea responding to that situation.

 

People these days don’t realize that it was an ongoing battle. Now, even pop artists sample, but back then it was like, ‘What? You do what?’ They’d just say, ‘You’re not original!’ And they’d just diss.

 

“I remember going into the studio laying down the beat. It’s funny I never got credited for this but I was laying down the beat, and I had my man Newkirk, who was my ride-or-die partner from back in the day. He came in and played all the keyboard parts in the bass line, and Daddy-O wrote the lyrics. Now who would’ve thought that it would become that big of a record?

“Sampling back then was kind of like a gray area. It was a new art form and people were just starting to get creative with it. Anybody who was outside of hip-hop really did not want to have anything dealing with sampling, or any type of urban hip-hop culture.

“People these days don’t realize that it was an ongoing battle. Now, even pop artists sample, but back then it was like, ‘What? You do what?’ They’d just say, ‘You’re not original!’ And they’d just diss it. It’s something that a lot of guys from my era don’t really talk about, but it existed, and it was a fight.

“Back then we just did it. Laws later dictated what were the repercussions. Since it was in a gray area there really wasn’t a guideline. It wasn’t like, ‘Don’t do this, or don’t do that.’ You just got as creative as you possibly could, and people just didn’t know. It wasn’t until a few lawsuits down the line, and they tried to make a guideline on how to sample, what costs you, what’s the legal amount of time to sample, etc.

 

When all these dudes are complaining about, ‘Man, hip-hop ain’t real like back in the golden age,’ they’re probably the ones affecting that. Now you’re going to either get a keyboard, or a loop that’s really chopped up, synthesized, twisted, and you’re not going to get a lot of what that music offers.

 

“It still hasn’t been resolved, and nobody really knows. It varies from case to case. And that’s basically what it was. You just did it, and then randomly years later you go, ‘I got sued for what?’ [Laughs.] It’s crazy, and it definitely affects how you make records nowadays.

“It’s not really friendly to sample stuff. If you’re going to sample, and really want to get busy, you have to get that out for free. If you put it out, you have all these guys online that are like, ‘I’m going to expose all these producers. And I’m going to tell-a-tale on every loop they used.’ Yeah, they know something other people might not know that’s cool, but they’re also affecting the way music is getting made. Because now hip-hop producers like myself are going to say, ‘I’m going to stay away from sampling.’

“So when all these dudes are complaining about, ‘Man, hip-hop ain’t real like back in the golden age,’ they’re probably the ones affecting that. Now you’re going to either get a keyboard, or a loop that’s really chopped up, synthesized, twisted, and you’re not going to get a lot of what that music offers.

“In regards to the essence of sampling, I would say whatever the song dictates it to be. I can’t say Alchemist and Premier are right for the way they flip stuff, and what Puffy did were wrong. Now money helps. Man, if I had Puffy’s budget, I’ll be taking straight out flat songs, too. I’ll be like, ‘Yeah! Clear it! How much they want? Yeah, whatever. Song sounds right. Take that! Let’s make it happen.’

 

Money helps. Man, if I had Puffy’s budget, I’ll be taking straight out flat songs, too. I’ll be like, ‘Yeah! Clear it! How much they want? Yeah, whatever. Song sounds right. Take that!’

 

“But if you’re dealing with the label, and they go, ‘Okay, we have $50,000 to make the song.’ And somebody says the sample you want to use is $49,000; you have to get extra creative. You might have a loop that you don’t want to chop it or do anything, but now you’re stuck with these crazy costs. So money definitely affects how you create.

“If I have a crazy budget to use whatever sample, and do whatever I want to do? I’ll have the most insane record coming out next year for anybody. I would quote this and say I’ll blow anybody out the box if I have free range to sample and do stuff. I can pay different keyboard players, but money dictates how to be creative or how your music is presented. Look at EPMD in the early days. They were using nothing but loops. So it’s really hard to say. You know?”