Tom Cox has a go at sampling culture in the Friday Review, claiming one minute that nobody is using sampling to good effect, the next that nobody really pays attention to the charts, the next that all the interesting sampling takes place in the underground and the next that the charts are rubbish. It’s an awful, curmudgeonly, stuck-in-his-ways piece of journalism and it’s sadly indicative of the Guardian’s music coverage.

“I write, admittedly, from the perspective of someone who believes 1974 represents popular music’s zenith,” he says, and it’s a pretty major point in his article. Can someone who appears not to like hip hop in the slightest (which is what he’s really having a go at – other genres which involve sampling are hardly mentioned) really comment on the artistic merit involved?

“How must Grandmaster Flash feel that an indirect antecedent of his Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel is Richard Blackwood working a lame rap about his lame stand-up career around the chorus to Mama Used To Say?” Personally, I couldn’t care less about the chorus of the song. What annoys me more is Blackwood’s idolisation of Will Smith. That and the fact that he’s sampled the hit from BDP’s “South Bronx”, which seems a blatant attempt to gain an ounce of credibility.

The article does make me wonder what Cox thought of The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash… at the time. How would the fact that Flash used a song based on a replay of the bassline to “Good Times” fit into his theory? He cites Run-DMC and A Tribe Called Quest as examples of groups who use sampling creatively and use interesting samples. Well, I’m sorry to tell you this Tom, but their biggest hits were a remake of an Aerosmith tune and a song built around an entirely obvious Lou Reed sample respectively. Next time write about something you have at least a vague knowledge of.

The article is saved for one reason: the following sentence amuses me.

“The average top 40 artist [is] committing the ultimate sin: using a multi-coloured, multi-textured palate to create nothing more than a straight monochrome line leading back to nowhere.”

There’s nothing quite like using a multi-coloured palate, is there?

New York London Paris Munich   Pop