Sampling has been a part of hip-hop since, well, forever. Rappers and producers notoriously borrow beats, sounds and instrumentation from older songs and create entire hooks based around the lyrics of other artists. But, is that really all they sample?
Over the years, a number of rappers have been accused of jacking concepts, ideas and sometimes even entire songs from lesser-known artists. Just this week, Kanye West was sued by an up-and-coming rapper from Virginia for allegedly stealing the framework of one of his songs to create his Grammy Award-winning track, “Stronger,” for his 2007 album, Graduation.
But that got us to thinking: Are your favorite rappers really stealing songs—or are they simply the victims of publicity stunts performed by artists trying to make a name for themselves? To find out, we took a look at 10 of the most notable cases to try and separate the writers from the biters. Listen up. —Chris Yuscavage