I’ve been having a lot of fun curating a playlist of songs and the corresponding tracks they sampled from. Well, that’s not entirely fair. Some of the tracks are inspirations or plain remakes.

Much of it is hip-hop, unsurprising for any fans of the genre. Hip-hop pretty much defined sampling, getting the biggest artists and labels into trouble back then. Things have changed, and declarations and authorisations are required to be granted before a track is released. There is a perverse net negative result to that for the artists, but that can wait for another day.

I’ve been a hip-hop fan since I first heard some early tracks in 1980/1981 when I got deep in the weeds of hip-hop for more than 15 years. To this day, it has a special place in my heart.

So when a friend recently told me about a playlist on Spotify (I’m not a subscriber), I asked him to export the tracklist so I could manually recreate it using Apple Music.

That playlist was featured in a New York Times article, giving me inspiration for my own take on the idea.

My list is currently a work in progress with 49 songs and lasts 4:19 hours, although that is likely to grow. It features several types of music, from Rap, Jazz, Reggae and Ska. The goal is to have one or more original tracks directly before the track that uses its samples from the previous track(s).

It’s called, The Before. I described it as:

Many popular tracks stand on the shoulders of previous songs. This playlist gives you the originals before they were sampled, covered, or otherwise copied.

If you want the playlist, let me know.

16 January 2023 — French West Indies