Song of the Day #182: ‘The Way You Move’ – Outkast

outkastI’ve been thinking a lot about sampling lately. I’ve always been very much against the idea of sampling, as epitomized by what Puff Daddy did with ‘Every Breath You Take’ or even what Vanilla Ice did with ‘Under Pressure’ way back when. When the most memorable part of your song belongs to somebody else entirely, how is that ok? I don’t mean financially, because I know the writers of the source material are paid, but artistically.

But recently I started thinking about more subtle forms of sampling in a new light. It struck me that Bob Dylan, and all great folk musicians, have essentially sampled other people’s work for centuries now. Dylan has a great song called ‘Nettie Moore’ on his latest album and that title and pieces of its chorus are “borrowed” from a song written in the 1800s. And he does that all the time. It’s expected, it’s tradition.

So why should it be any different for modern artists to pick up a bit of guitar here, the beat of a drum there, and incorporate it into their music? In one sense, it is different because we’re talking about using actual pieces of recorded music as opposed to lifting a melody line or some lyrics. But the spirit is the same… creation as a fluid and collaborative process.

The funny thing is I planned this little discussion to go with Outkast’s ‘The Way You Move’ because I just assumed that catchy chorus was lifted from an old 70s soul song. But it turns out Big Boi wrote this one all by himself. So ignore the previous three paragraphs and enjoy…

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #182: ‘The Way You Move’ – Outkast

  1. Dana says:

    I really have very little problem with sampling. Of course, the effectiveness of the sampling really depends on what you do with it. Some artist, like Vanilla Ice, don’t seem to add a whole lot to the original and, therefore, in a sense owe the success of their hit to the hook of the original. Eminem, on the other hand, has used sampling much more effectively, most notably on Stan, but also on a number of other tracks.

    Of course, as you point out, this particular song isn’t a sample, but much closer to an homage to the 70’s Earth, Wind & Fire sound, so much so that EWF actually brought it full circle by covering the song with Kenny G. Ironically, I was so much more familiar with the EWF cover that surfaced a few years ago, that I too assumed upon first listening to this “version” that Outkast was sampling from EWF. Shows you what I know! Hats off to Outkast for doing something entirely original, but making it sound so “old school” that I (and you) thought it was!

  2. Kerrie says:

    I end up really liking Outkast. And Andre “3000” Benjamin turns out to be an alright actor, too. But you’re right about this sound being so old school that it “had to be” sampled. I never gave it much thought, I just like the song. πŸ™‚

  3. Amy says:

    The video is no longer available 😦 I’ll go try to track it down elsewhere. Meanwhile, I’ll weigh in on the sampling issue. No problem whatsoever with it. In fact, I love the idea. Not only does the original artist benefit financially by earning a cut of the royalties, but that artist likely gets a whole new audience to become familiar with his work. Hell, it literature it’s the highest compliment you can pay an artist. William Faulkner titles his masterpiece The Sound and the Fury and honors Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the process. Steinbeck does the same for Robert Burns when he names his novel Of Mice and Men.

    I agree that the intentions of the new artist, and that artist’s own level of genius and originality, certainly can either make the “sample” more or less meaningful, but the end result is the same. New listeners/viewers/readers for the source material. And, as Clay puts it, an artistic collaboration through the ages.

  4. Amy says:

    πŸ™‚ Found it.

    What a great song.

  5. Clay says:

    Video’s working now. Maybe a temporary YouTube outage?

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