Pop culture seems to always circle back around to old trends. We see this clearly when it comes to fashion with the revival of the Y2K aesthetic. Or how it’s become a huge photography trend to use film cameras and polaroids. Music is no different.
This “everything that’s old becomes new again” theme is alive and well in our current music. Artists are using sounds from older pop songs and putting their own spin on them. There’s a nostalgic factor that has been heightened since the beginning of the pandemic, and these songs are the product of that.
Artists make these remixes as odes to this time of music. It’s the feeling of nostalgia. Singers grew up on the 2000s-2010s pop that we all love. There’s nothing wrong with honoring those who inspired us to join the industry.
Sampling music is when artists reuse a portion of the song in a different recording. The portion is usually manipulated and changed to fit better with the artist and their idea. Now here’s a few ex(samples)! Get it? Okay, I’ll stop….
Olivia O’Brien released the song “NOW”, sampling Akon’s hit “Right Now”. She made it very clear that she purposely sampled Akon’s song as well, to avoid backlash I’m sure. According to POP CRUSH, O’Brien said “The writer that I made it with, it was actually her idea. She was like, “How cool would it be if someone flipped this and turned it into a breakup song?” As soon as she said that I was like, `I’m so down’”.
Another popular track was Polo G’s called “Bad Man (Smooth Criminal)”. It went viral on Tik Tok seemingly out of nowhere, with almost 30,000 videos with that song. Polo says the song pays homage to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The music video even has lots of references to the OG “Smooth Criminal” music video. Polo is fitted up in a white suit and a fight between two feuding gangs starts to brew up.
MEGAN THEE STALLION
Megan Thee Stallion was torn apart by listeners after releasing her single “Girls in the Hood”, a feminine take on the song “Boyz-N-The-Hood” by Eazy-E. There was a lot of backlash from fans of the song and saying all kinds of things. They said she stole the song, and she ruined it by making it her own. I thought these were absolutely insane and unnecessary takes. This is not the first time we’ve seen a sampling like this and the reaction made it seem like the opposite.
INSPIRATION OR DESPERATION?
I noticed that when artists sample songs, there seems to be a big issue from the fans’ side. Listeners go in a frenzy, thinking the big artist stole the beat and it seems like their fans don’t notice the issue. However, sampling is really common in the song-making process. Songs have been written and produced since the beginning of time, there can only be so many combinations before we run into similar sounds. For the most part, artists use these old songs because honor these iconic sounds.
It’s a hot debate these days either way! What do you think about sampling? Where should we draw the line?