Jay-Z Explains He Is 'Honored' To Have His Work Remixed By Others
from the creativity-by-remix dept
A Dan points us to a fascinating interview with Jay-Z on Fresh Air that's worth listening to in its entirety.
However, there are a few quotes concerning copyright and sampling that are most interesting. For example, there's a discussion about the infamous Grey Album -- a mashup by DJ Danger Mouse mixing The Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album. As you probably know, EMI went insane over this release, threatening to sue everyone -- as it has done since then on other Beatles mashups to this day. However, I can't recall ever hearing anything, one way or the other, about Jay-Z's opinion on the album, and it's basically the opposite of the way EMI/The Beatles reacted (from about 12:50 in the interview):
Terry Gross: "So I've got to ask you how you feel about the Grey Album, which is the mash-up that Danger Mouse did of your Black Album and the Beatles' White Album, without any copyright permission. So, how do you feel about it musically and how do you feel about the fact that he did it?"If you listen to the actual audio, you can hear his sincerity on that last part. Later on (around 23:45), he talks about the process of getting permission to sample Hard Knock Life, highlighting the ridiculousness of permission culture. While he was thrilled about having others sample his music and do stuff with it, when it came to getting the rights for Hard Knock Life, he had to convince the original songwriters to let him sample it, and to do so he told "a big lie" concerning how he had seen the play, Annie, on Broadway as a kid, and had written an essay for some school essay contest about the importance of seeing Annie on Broadway. While the original songwriter of Hard Knock Life notes that he was happy with the Jay-Z song, it still highlights one of the problems with permission culture. Basically, Jay-Z had to beg (and lie) to create art.
Jay-Z: "I think it was a really strong album. I champion any form of creativity and that was a genius idea to do it, and it sparked so many others like it. There are other ones that, you know, it's really good, there are other ones that, because of the blueprint that was set by him, that I think are a little better. But, you know, him being the first and having the idea; I thought it was genius."
Terry Gross: "Did you feel ripped off by the fact that he used your music on it without paying for it? Or did you think it doesnít matter, itís really good art."
Jay-Z: "No, I was actually honored that, you know, someone took the time to mash those records up with Beatles records. I was honored to be on, you know, quote-unquote the same song with the Beatles."