Publish date:

Gorillaz Founder Believes Sampling Isn't "Creating Music" (It Is)

Sorry, Damon, you're wrong.

Damon Albarn, the founder of Gorillaz and frontman of British rock band Blur, recently spoke with French publication L’Obs about his views on Kanye West, which led to his views on the practice of sampling, all of which were less than favorable.

“Moi, je ne sample pas, je crée de la musique,” he said, shrugging off Kanye's sample-heavy production work on Pusha-T's DAYTONA. Or, translated into English: “I do not sample, I create music.” 

Does this mean that Albarn doesn’t believe that sampling is an act of creating music, or that he believes there’s no sampling on any of the Gorillaz records? (Note: Albarn's comments were seemingly translated from English to French for the source quote and translated back to English on our end, but while the syntax may not be perfect, the sentiment remains obvious.)

Well, either way, he’s wrong. One quick search on WhoSampled will reveal what we already know: Gorillaz sample fairly regularly. In fact, here's a 15-minute video analyzing their sampling history from 2001-2017. Additionally, Albarn is a frequent collaborator of De La Soul—to say nothing of his work with MF DOOM, Danger Mouse, and countless others—whose library is so laden with samples, a majority of it cannot be found on streaming services. 

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

30deep-social-16x9-1

Welcome to 30 Deep Grimeyy’s Darkly Comic World

St. Louis' 30 Deep Grimeyy has a penchant for telling the whole truth, even when it’s messy. He breaks it down for Audiomack World.

bfb-social-16x9-1

Bfb Da Packman Is Dead Serious

Bfb Da Packman is dead serious. The Flint rapper has a deep love for rap and all things craft. He breaks it down for Audiomack.

barry-social-16x9-1

Barry Jhay Is Pioneering His Own Legacy

Nigeria's Barry Jhay conveys moving messages capable of standing the test of time. He breaks it all down for Audiomack.

Would Albarn wager that De La Soul do not create music? Likely, hopefully, not.

As for whether or not sampling is creating music, this tired idea is familiar territory for some. In 2015, Steely Dan’s Michael McDonald also attempted to discredit sampling, suggesting that it was simple copy-and-paste work. This is, of course, untrue. Digging for samples and weaving them into a fresh composition is more than hip-hop tradition, it’s a labor of musical love and requires a particular level of creativity.

Speaking with producer Blockhead in 2017, he explained to us the creative gateway that comes with letting the sample guide you on a beat. “I do titles after the song is done,” he said. “I sit back and either go off of a feeling or a vocal sample that’s in the track.” Blockhead, like Kanye West and many, many other producers, takes samples and performs sonic alchemy to transform the source material into something brand new.

In layman’s terms, sampling is no different from playing an instrument. Surely, Damon Albarn could understand that.

Related

Everyone Keeps Telling Me Kanye Sampled My Song

Everyone Keeps Telling Me Kanye West Sampled My Song—I’m Starting to Believe Them

Maybe they randomly heard the song and subconsciously replayed it? Maybe I’m delusional?

Madlib 2019 illustration

Library Music Is Changing the Sampling Game In Hip-Hop

It’s been decades since sampling was uninhibited. Library music is changing everything.

Danger Mouse Is Rap's Great "What If" Producer

Danger Mouse Is Rap’s Great “What If?” Producer

Imagine the creative chemistry Danger Mouse might share with rappers like Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Tyler, The Creator. I know I have.

Producer 6ix Talks Sacrificing Publishing Splits in Order to Sample More

Why Producer 6ix Sacrifices Publishing Splits in Order to Sample

"At the end of the day, the feeling and emotion of the record is most important."

DJBooth_logo2x

I Gave EOM a Sample to Flip & He Did & It's Amazing

I challenged EOM to flip a Glass Animals sample and he delivered a truly dope beat.