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- Posted on May 7th 2010 3:00PM by Pat Pemberton
"That brought him back, actually," Del tells Spinner. "There wasn't anybody thinking about James Brown. The fact that people sampled his music so much was more honor than anything."
Brown's last Top 10 hit was in the mid '80s but he eventually became one of the most sampled artists in the world, with acts like Ice-T, Public Enemy and the Fat Boys using pieces of his songs as a foundation for their own derivative works.
"You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me," Brown told the Associated Press in 2003. Brown, who once spoke against music piracy before the Department of Commerce, always believed he should have been paid any time his song was used. But Del, a frequent sampler himself, says the practice actually introduced Brown to new generations of music fans.
"There's a whole time frame of hip-hop that's all based on James Brown," he says, noting that hip-hop showed music listeners that Brown's music was superior to others. "So that was bringing back the real, like, 'We don't want the weak fluff.'"
As for other sampled artists, Del says Parliament Funkadelic frontman George Clinton had a better take on the practice.
"He's seen it the way I would see it," Del says. "He looked at it like, 'This is an honor that you want to use my music like that and bring me back.' And it brought him back to the point where our generation looked at him like the Godfather. He was revered. He got to be in a video with Snoop."
While Del doesn't think there's anything wrong with sampling, he says that it has to be done with moderation.
"People started abusing sampling, and it made people more aware of sampling," he says. "And then people got the bright idea that, 'We've got to get some money out of this somehow. There's got to be a law against this.'"