Of all the various obstacles that affect rappers as they maneuver through the music business, one of the biggest has (almost) always been sample clearances. As a genre more or less built on the concept of recycling and repurposing old music into new sounds, hip-hop has been plagued by lawsuits and rights issues ever since the early 1990s, when older artists began to realize the popularity of the then-emerging new style. Even today, rappers and producers still face problems with using parts of songs they like in new compositions, as evidenced by a frustrated tweet from Logic, who typed out a tirade that racked up the retweets in the wee hours of the night.
“Just want to take a moment and say, F*ck sample clearence,” he wrote. “F*ck clearing samples. F*ck people taking all a producers money for not doing sh*t and f*ck the companies that say no just cuz. This is hip hop. I’m tired of replaying sh*t. F*ck the money. This why mixtapes was so good.” While not referencing a specific sample, song, or recording artist who may have been the offending party, Logic clearly has been seeing familiar issues with the use of existing musical compositions. As a rap traditionalist, Logic has always enjoyed the use of sampled beats, following in the heritage of pioneers like RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Tribe Called Quest, and Kanye West.
He’s not the only one to have seen sample clearance issues over the years, Drake, French Montana, Nicki Minaj, and more have all faced legal issues or had to push albums back in order to hash out copyright issues. Even Ariana Grande, who dabbled in rapping herself on her recent hit “7 Rings” had to give up nearly all of the publishing on the song to the composers of its sample of Julie Andrews’ rendition of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound Of Music. Logic is far from alone in his woes, but considering some of the reactions and the can of worms his rant threatens to open, maybe that particular tweet was better left in the drafts folder.