Sonic necessity and compositional invention in #BluesHop: composing the blues for sample-based hip hop

Exarchos, Michail ORCID: (2020) Sonic necessity and compositional invention in #BluesHop: composing the blues for sample-based hip hop. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 32 (3). pp. 99-119. ISSN 1524-2226

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Rap, the musical element of Hip-Hop culture, has depended upon the recorded past to shape its birth, present and, potentially, its future. Founded upon a sample-based methodology, the style’s perceived authenticity and sonic impact are largely attributed to the use of phonographic records, and the unique conditions offered by composition within a sampling context. Yet, while the dependence on pre-existing recordings challenges traditional notions of authorship, it also results in unavoidable legal and financial implications for sampling composers who, increasingly, seek alternative ways to infuse the sample-based method with authentic content. But what are the challenges inherent in attempting to compose new material—inspired by traditional forms—while adhering to Rap’s unique sonic rationale, aesthetics and methodology? How does composing within a stylistic frame rooted in the past (i.e. the Blues) differ under the pursuit of contemporary sonics and methodological preferences (i.e. Hip-Hop’s sample-based process)? And what are the dynamics of this inter-stylistic synthesis? The article argues that in pursuing specific, stylistically determined sonic objectives, sample-based production facilitates an interactive typology of unique conditions for the composition, appropriation, and divergence of traditional musical forms, incubating era-defying genres that leverage the dynamics of this interaction. The musicological inquiry utilizes (auto)ethnography reflecting on professional creative practice, in order to investigate compositional problematics specific to the applied Blues-Hop context, theorize on the nature of inter-stylistic composition, and consider the effects of electronic mediation on genre transformation and stylistic morphing.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1525/jpms.2020.32.3.99
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Michail Exarchos (aka Stereo Mike); Sonic Necessity and Compositional Invention in #BluesHop: Composing the Blues for Sample-Based Hip Hop. Journal of Popular Music Studies 27 August 2020; 32 (3): 99–119. doi:], which has been published in final form at As of 2018, Journal of Popular Music Studies is no longer published by Wiley. Current content can be found on the new publisher's site:
Keywords: Hip Hop, Blues, Composition, Sampling, Sonics, Style, Authenticity
Subjects: Music
Music > Musicology
Music > Record production
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Michail Exarchos
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2019 17:32
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:01


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