Sampling Gone Wrong: Lupe Fiasco vs Pete Rock

Yesterday, the hip-hop world was divided over the issue of Lupe Fiasco’s new single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” and his sampling of the track “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” by legendary 90′s hip hop producer Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Use of the track was met with major objection by an angry Pete Rock himself on twitter. While not entirely mad at Fiasco, Rock mostly put the blame on the producers Simonsayz and B-Side and the label for not informing him of the sampling of his track.

“T.R.O.Y.”, a heartfelt ode to fallen friend Trouble T. Roy of Heavy D & The Boyz is considered a hip-hop classic and a staple track in the “Golden Era” of the genre, so Pete Rock was not alone in his disapproval. Considering the original track, Fiasco’s single literally sounds like a remake with barely any alterations, save for a few louder drum sounds. The effort put into finding the sample, getting the sample cleared (and approved by the original musician Tom Scott), and most of all the significant impact the record made on the genre is what sets the two songs apart.

Fiasco released a statement on the usage of “T.R.O.Y.” (without knowledge of Pete Rock’s reaction), stating that he wanted to pay homage to an iconic record; a decision prompted by his label manager. As another plus, fans of the song and those that felt the sample was misused, all seem to agree that Fiasco made an impressive effort on his part with the lyricism on the track.

“Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” is the first single to Lupe Fiasco’s highly anticipated 4th opus Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album, slated to release late Summer/early Fall 2012.

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