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Hip Hop Samples Jazz

Posted: May 17th, 2011 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

IMR Seminars: ‘Directions in Musical Research’. Thursday 2 June 2011, 5-6.30pm.
Senate House, Malet Street, London
South Block, Ground Floor, room G35
(Nearest tubes: Euston Square, Russell Square, Goodge Street)

Tom Perchard (Goldsmiths): ‘Hip Hop Samples Jazz: Dynamics of Cultural Memory and Musical Tradition in the African American 1990s’

Chair: Andy Fry (King’s College London)

Academic work on hip hop published in the mid-1990s by Tricia Rose, William Eric Perkins, Kyra D. Gaunt and others tended to consider sampling as a historically significant practice, one through which producers memorialized and continued the traditions of earlier African American musical styles. More recently this view has been challenged: in his Making Beats (2004) Joseph Schloss contends that musical pragmatics have always been more important to producers than such cultural-historical projects. This paper seeks to explore these issues by way of an examination of hip hop in the early-1990s, and specifically the uses that many groups – most notably Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest – began to utilize jazz samples around that time. Making extensive reference to contemporary interview material not previously examined in the scholarly literature, this paper aims to establish the ways that, between the traditionary/pragmatic binarism, hip hop artists variously, and often simultaneously, described and enacted both continuations of and wariness towards an African American musical heritage.

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