Sampling has been a key part of making rap beats, ever since the sampler was first invented. Being able to grab a sound and twist it into new forms has given lots of opportunities to beat making producers, but it also presents a few issues and challenges.
As a beat maker, there are lots of advantages that sampling can offer, and modern beat making software has amazing opportunities to utilize sounds, pulled in from anywhere, but you have to be aware of the problems you can face, if you don’t keep to the rules.
Sampling allows you to access the entire history of music. It allows you to be able to pull apart any sound, into its elements, or capture the perfect loop, for your tracks. Being able to access a great bass line or a snare sound, which can be pulled into your tracks can allow you to work very quickly.
It can be a great way of quickly putting together a track, which has a lot of presence and impact, for relatively little effort. You will need to make sure that the sample fits the key and tempo of your track, but once you do this, you are away.
Going through your music collection, looking for sounds and hooks can be inspiring too, even if you do what some producers do, building a track around a sample, before removing the sample. This can help you to get a solid beat going, without having to worry about the implications of sampling.
With sampling, you need to be aware of the legal situation. Samples of any commercially released music will almost always require the permission of the publisher. There are some beat makers who will risk sampling without clearing samples, thinking they won’t get caught, but if you do, you could be looking at fines and court actions.
Because of the potential legal issues, related to sampling, there are plenty of producers that have moved away from using samples. The legal issues of clearing samples can mean that it takes time to release your work, by which time you might have moved on, creatively.
There’s still a lot to be said for the unique sound of sampled tracks, particularly if the producer does something creative with the samples. Chopping up and rearranging a loop can provide interesting results. Hearing examples of this type of sampling may be rarer than it used to be, but it still provides a great basis for a beat.
Modern beat making software may be capable of creating instrumentals and beats quickly, but when you’re working in your home studio, it’s easy for tracks to lack the richness of a sample based track, unless you are really skilled at mixing and arranging.
A skilled producer may think of sampling as being part of their potential toolset, but should always be aware of the legal situation, if they are planning on having a hit!