Re: [rumori] Dre finally sued

From: Jon Leidecker (
Date: Sat Nov 02 2002 - 16:05:51 PST

>> Well, yes. I'd suggest that anytime someone in the First
>> World samples something from the Third World, they would
>> do well to ask themselves about their own motivations and
>> the consequences of their actions (if they don't already
>> do this anytime they sample anything. or anytime they do
>> anything). How might their (admittedly perhaps small) act
>> be part of the cycle of imperialist capitalist
>> exploitation?
>The missing part of the analysis so far is that Black people
>in the West or First World, particularly the United States,
>the people who popularized music sampling (note, we didn't
>invent it, just made it more obvious) are also the victims
>of the same Imperialist Capitalist exploitation, going back
>almost 500 years, and continuing to this day. With their
>very bodies they have been the commodity that lauched Global
>Capitalism. Globalization didn't begin with NAFTA, GATT, the
>WTO, the World Bank, the IMF, or any of this other crap, it
>began with the Atlantic Slave Trade.
>So, while we need to admonish someone like DJ Quik and
>Dr. Dre for their irresponsible behavior, we must also be
>cognizent of the fact that the reason sampling is such a
>popular form of musical creation by Black people, especially
>those in the United States, is the result of the destruction
>and fragmentation of our histories, cultures, and identities
>as a result of a 500 year genocidal assault by White Supremacy,
>Capitalism, and Imperialism. Sampling is something we've had
>to do in order to survive once stripped of all else. The
>issue goes way beyond just music. We had to create something
>from nothing. Music is just the way that non-Blacks tend to
>see it most easily manifest itself.
>This also gives us a unique opportunity to turn our
>attention to another site of struggle and conflict between
>Blacks and Indians: The African Continent. As a direct
>result of Imperialist Colonialism and White Supremacy on
>the African Continent, there has been a long history of
>bitterness and tension between Continental Black Africans
>and their Indian brothers and sisters who were imported into
>Africa as indentured servants. In South Africa, Indians were
>given a higher level of status under Apartheid than Blacks
>and this led many of them to consider themselves set apart
>from the interests of the Black masses. In Kenya, Uganda,
>and other parts of East Africa, most of us know the stories
>of cynical dictators, whose strings were being pulled by the
>Western Imperialists and White Supremacists, pitting Blacks
>and Indians against each other and taking advantage of the
>obvious tensions that had arisen because of the byproducts
>of White Supremacist favoritism of Indians over Blacks in
>various economic spheres.
>This my friends is what we should really be talking about.
>We can use this insignificant blowup over a pop record to
>delve into much deeper issues of exploitation on all sides,
>and to point out who the real enemies are.

It's certainly not an accident that many (most, actually) of the major
trials that have gone to court over sampling issues are saturated with some
of the most insanely loaded racial issues imaginable, and anyone who tries
to speak about those cases without this understanding is going to sound
quite shallow. thanks for the perspective laid out in the 3rd paragraph.

however, it's not quite an insignificant blowup in that it's going to
result in a court decision which will then result in a legal precedent that
the rest of us will all have to live with. (us being anyone making music
that involves copywritten prerecordings.) that's the horrible thing about
lawsuits over creative art -- you can really only react on a case by case
basis to these complaints, aesthetic issues simply refuse to be translated
into dependable laws. But with each case like this that gets to the
courtroom, that's just what happens, the issues are shoehorned and typeset
into unbending Decisions that influence all future Decisions. So we're
watching all this happen with baited breath.

The video for this song is available at, it's
quite the stomach churner. The song is okay ear candy and I can't hate
Rakim, but the video, you know, belly dancers at the palace, partying,
'exotic' duh. Total braindead cliche, Edward Said's 'Orientalism', AGAIN.
the fact that they didn't feel it necessary to license the track when you
know damn well the label has an entire department dedicated to handling
that precise issue... the accusation of 'imperalism' does carry a bit of a
sting to it.

At the same time... it's so cool they sampled Lata Mangeshkar, and that
people are listening to her. This song is basically a cover version...
it'll make more people want to buy her records. Ultimately this is the
only important thing. You can cry about those ethnological thieves,
commercially releasing their documents of third world vocalists and
musicians from the 1930's to present day without proper payback, but
ultimately the recordings speak with their own voices, and thank god they
were made and distributed.

Your points about the underlying historical animosity are taken, and
interesting to think about while watching another gangsta party video
mindlessly appropriating another 'exotic' locale. Then, boom, Black
Americans getting accused of Imperalism... hoo boy. Well they are
Americans, running a highly profitable corporation. Waking up to the rest
of the world, with the rest of us.


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