Sample

by Rose McAleese

James Brown
Steps
on
stage.

He
is carved from midnight’s marble.
He turns to his right-hand man,
Clyde “Funky Drummer” Stubblefield
and says:

“Kick a little something Clyde!”

Clyde, bursting from his love and joy of all that is rhythm and blues,
beats the drums with such ease.
Like God told him to play,
Like he was God playing the drums.

The sound that came out
was
pure “Cold
Sweat.”

It’s flesh ran naked in that arena:

A classic in the making.

The record
skips,
The record
            skips,
The record skips a few years…

And Hip Hop shows up late; but looks good.
Does not make eye contact with anyone in the room,
afraid someone might notice,
“Umm, excuse me, he isn’t from around these parts.

Hip Hop
was given all the hand-me-downs,
but learned to but swag back in all the stitches.
 
Everything was fine
until someone noticed the similarities of once-was.

Hip Hop, you kicked a little too much dust up off those records,
And even Midas knows the price you got to pay for the touch.

These samples aren’t free!
(I would worry if I was you, Mr. Biz Markie)

In 2004,
Brian Burton
took the Jay-Z’s Black Album and The Beatles White Album
and made The Gray Album.

EMI record company,
pockets all of sudden feeling very…
empty,
decides to sue this nobody
for all that he’s worth.
In fact, this plan backfires and they pull this kid,
this nobody,
this fan,
this lover of pure music into the limelight
to be loved and admired.

The Beatles,
angry by all that has been “taken” from them,
have a song called Revolution 9,
which is 9 minutes of remixed, mastered, and sampled sounds.

Andy Warhol
can paint someone else’s photos,
even took a soup can to stop himself from being a starving artist.

Shakespeare,
took take the frame of an tragic Italian love story
slapped his name on it and made it his own.

Disney had the audacity
to take your beloved fairy tales,
add some color,
re-animate them
and walk their asses to the bank.

Because this generation knows:
The best artists do not copy,
they steal!

And History is nothing more than a 12-year-old boy with bad acne
and a serious s-s-s-s-stuttering problem
who’s been told one too many times to
“Learn from your mistakes.”

It is one thing to pull from your inspiration
It is another thing to be the man’s tracing paper.

As poets,
as writers,
–fuck it–
as people,
we sample all that time.

Sample like
ribcage,
advice your grandmother once told you,
or the weight of atlas.

Nothing is holy,
Nothing is scared,
Nothing should be owned.

However,
it should be recognized,
respected
and thanked.

This evening, Clyde Flunky Drummer is doing me the honor of playing my outro,
a sample of all my favorite Kanye West—
pardon me, I mean “Frankenstein”—tunes.”

Clyde,
who’s own original sound has been copied on over 100 different songs,
has yet to see a penny.

But for the record,
he wants nothing in return but a simple
“Thank You”

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