Sampling has been a main stake in the rap and music industry for decades. Artists such as Kanye West have built careers from the ground up by creating music with unique and peculiar soul samples. Other artists, such as Kid Cudi, have used more fresh and recent samples, such as “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga in Cudi’s “Make Her Say”. While sampling other tracks may seem like the most preferred and easiest way to go when building a track, it’s evident that there is much more to examine behind the curtain of a song’s creation.

One of the most important parts of creating a song with samples is to ensure that each sample has been properly cleared, which can also be a somewhat painstaking and expensive process. The process includes a flat rate fee to determine if the song can be sampled, as well as obtaining permission and coming to terms in an agreement with the right holder(s) of the original song. Many artists have sadly been taken advantage of when hoping to use a sample over the years. 

In the past, many well-known artists have faced lawsuits over the use of samples that weren’t rightfully cleared. For example, the late rapper Juice WRLD sampled singer Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” for the track “Lucid Dreams”. Sting reportedly ended up owning 85% of the track and its profits, as well as having claims made against him that Juice WRLD was being sued for $15 million over the rights to the sample. 

While the track was a massive success that put Juice WRLD on the map for the mainstream public, it was far from one of his most profitable tracks in comparison to his other top songs that he had the majority of stakes in. Others including DJ Burn One and Pi’erre Bourne have openly advocated against the use of samples if the artist wishes to see a profit. Situations such as these have made it known that it’s much harder for artists to make money from their tracks if others own large percentages of royalties. 

While there are many hurdles to cross when it comes to obtaining a sample that could discourage the artist from doing so, there are still many positive aspects for them to consider before giving up. Many argue that there is a certain beauty in the art of recreating a song into something new, fresh, and more modern. Updating a track in an invigorating manner turns heads and gets the public’s attention, just as the songs above did. When “Make Her Say” made rounds through the public, the use of “Poker Face” was all the talk. If an artist does so on their track, people are bound to give it their attention. 

In the end, sampling another track can be a tough call, as it’s both a long process but also creatively fresh and special. Giving fans something new made from a song they already enjoy will make waves among the masses. As long as an artist is careful in the terms and agreements they’re signing to when sampling including royalties, they are sure to rise above others with a fresh, creative ear for the sound and production to a track.