5
Dec 00

9. Songs: Led Zeppelin – “When The Levee Breaks”, Black Sabbath – “The Wizard”

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9. Songs: Led Zeppelin – “When The Levee Breaks”, Black Sabbath – “The Wizard”

However unlikely it may seem to him, there may come a time when Jimmy Page’s income comes mainly from royalties derived from hip hop fans who have never even heard a note of his guitar playing, never mind having any interest in it. When B Real of Cypress Hill cited Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” as his favourite track to chill out to, he was representing a whole new generation of hip hop and rap fans who see this kind of classic rock beat as a slightly different but equally interesting version of the hip hop beats they already know. Where did they first hear them? The same records that are giving Page his royalties: the hip hop records that sample rock beats. Whether it’s from a Beastie Boys fan listening to Led Zep after hearing that their beats were good or a Cypress Hill fan listening to Black Sabbath after the band sampled them and recommended them, the lines between rock and hip hop/rap have been broken down and gradually spawned the rock/rap we’re seeing now.

Sampling is almost undoubtedly the biggest factor involved in the blurring of the rock/rap distinction. Is there any great chance that such a large and significant number of young hip hop fans would suddenly have chosen to listen to “When The Levee Breaks”, “Kashmir”, “The Crunge”, Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”, or Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard” without them being re-interpreted by the Beasties, Cypress Hill, De La Soul, the Ultramagnetic MCs or Puff Daddy first? I doubt it.

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