Home Music Smokey Robinson, Carole King: Alicia Keys Samples Kanye Who Samples the Masters

It’s gotten kind of pathetic now. No one wants to write a new song. Or can.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin, the legends, wrote one 50 years ago called “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles covered it on an album in the ’60s.

Today, Alicia Keys has released a new free song called “Speechless.” Keys, who is capable of much more than this, actually sampled a new Kanye West track called “Devil in a New Dress.”

But it turns out that Kanye had already sampled Smokey’s version of Carole and Gerry’s song. When artists used to “cover” songs, it meant they sang them, released them under their titles, and the original writers were paid. In sampling, you steal elements of someone else’s song, call it “interpolation,” include the element in a new song, and pretend like it never happened.

Some of this you can follow at http://www.whosampled.com/sample/view/58953/

I mean, this is sad. We’re at the point where Alicia and husband producer Swizz Beatz are sampling a sample of a sample of a cover.

Smokey, Carole: call your lawyers now.

PS I wish Alicia Keys wouldn’t get into this sort of thing. She’s a great original song writer. But “Empire State of Mind” was borrowed from “Love on a Two Way Street” and “You Don’t Know My Name” was taken from an obscure Main Ingredient song.



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14 replies to this post
  1. The artist that are being sampled certainly do get paid and they also receive credit. Hip Hop has been around for over 30 years and has always been about sampling so I dont understand what the deal is with this article.

  2. Chords are essentially samples, they are just played on different instruments, with different fingers, in different order s . The different orders are
    What make it unique. Samples are the same thing as chords, and when put together in a new or different way, this makes it a NEW, and ORIGINAL composition. Get with it, dinasoars!!!

  3. I do believe that original artists are getting paid now, but I kind of agree with Roger: new artists are NOT being “post-modern” or “paying homage” while sampling riffs, lyrics, melodies, and whole pieces of songs. They’re just being lazy and making the most intentionally derivative, nostalgia-pandering music that has ever been produced in the history of recording. I find myself really liking *something* about a song and it takes several listens to realize that it’s because I liked it 20 years ago! Whatever happened to creativity?

  4. Are the original artists getting paid? I remember Smokey saying he wanted the new artists to sample him all they wanted, because he got paid royalties.
    I don’t mind the samples and I consider myself old school. I think it’s a way to pay homage to the old school artists. It clearly shows that the new artists like what the old artists did. What I don’t like is somebody redoing a classic song and doing it in a worse way than the original. How many times have “tears of a clown” been re-made? And some of the singers that record that song don’t put anything new on the spin.

  5. Bink! & Mike Dean produced Devil in a New Dress, so they technically stole parts of the song and sold the beat to Kanye.

    Whatever one thinks of sampling, its hard to disagree the the sample of Luther Vandross’ cover of “A House Is Not a Home” is fantastic in Kanye’s “Slow Jamz”. Say your gonna be, well well, well’ well…

  6. What is the problem? So long as the new song is good, what difference does it make if it was ‘sampled’ or not? So long as the proper people are paid, go for it!

  7. To be fair, this song Speechless isn’t a single or an official release. It’s something they put together in a day to give her fans a taste of something new while they wait for new material.

    So while I would expect more (production-wise) from an official single, to me it actually makes sense to save your original productions for your official projects.

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