Can you just imagine the cost to clear the rights for an album like the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique? The Dust Brothers dumped the kitchen sink into the Beastie’s landmark album in the days before Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc.; the landmark lawsuit against Biz Markie by Gilbert O’Sullivan, which changed the process and future of hip-hop sampling.
Lawsuits and controversy aside, we’ll probably never see sampled albums as they were back in the mid-1980s, but that doesn’t mean that sampling is gone. It’s often harder to recognize sampling. Sometimes the sample just doesn’t fit the traditional hip-hop model, and sometimes the sample is so technologically manipulated that it’s unrecognizable.