I lost all interest in Eminem after Relapse, but when he announced that Just Blaze was producing the bulk of the followup, I reluctantly got excited. Just Blaze, the man behind all the Roc-A-Fella classics, “Oh Boy” and most recently “Exhibit C.” This should be interesting, I thought.
Last night, Recovery leaked online and one of the first songs I heard was “No Love” which contains a prominent sample of Haddaway’s “What Is Love.” Utterly disturbed, I went on Twitter to cry about it and call out Mr. Blaze.
I reacted similarly when T.I. sampled an Internet meme for his single. According to nerd rap doctrine, samples should be old and obscure enough to be archaeological discoveries, preferably from the other side of the world. We like to think of producers as wizards who live in caverns of vinyl and collect records like Pokemon cards. Sampling a 1993 dance song that became an SNL skit and eventually a movie (EMILIOOO!!) is just wrong.
But Just asks a valid question: Why not? What if I pretend I’ve never heard of Haddaway or A Night at the Roxbury and the sample is just another rare loop? Are my elitist perceptions about what’s OK to sample totally arbitrary? I’m sure there two bros rocking out to Weezy’s bars right now with no qualms about the sample. What about “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” which contains a sample of the I Dream of Jeannie theme? There are countless examples of “questionable” samples that get a pass for one reason or another.
I don’t have good answers to those questions. Ultimately, there are no rules to sampling, it’s just a matter of what sounds right at the time. “No Love” has grown on me a little bit (not much) since my initial disgust, but I can’t see how anyone can absorb what Eminem is trying to pull out of his soul without bobbing their head to the side like Chris Kattan.