Sampling is a cornerstone element of hip-hop production, an art form that has been perfected by the game’s most legendary beatmakers. 9th Wonder is no stranger to flipping samples, and upon discovering Bob James in the midst of perusing some liner notes, he quickly became enamored with the legendary musician’s catalog. In fact, James’ discography has been widely sampled throughout the years, with his single “Nautilis” being incorporated in the early works of Eric B & Rakim, Run DMC, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ghostface Killah, and many more.

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9th Wonder & Bob James Have Must-Watch Meeting Of The Minds">
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Now, 9th and James have connected for a meeting of the minds, a conversation surrounding the art of sampling and the fascinating — though sometimes contentious — relationship that ends up occurring between two seemingly disparate genres. One of the early points centers around James’ early experiences with hip-hop, as well as the realization that his music was quickly becoming a favorite of rising producers. “I’ve been through a lot of variations of feelings about it,” explains James. “When I first began to discover it, it was not exactly a positive thing because the times I found out my music had been sampled, it was not licensed.” 

9th Wonder & Bob James Have Must-Watch Meeting Of The Minds
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He proceeds to reflect on the time he heard a record by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince that heavily incorporated his own “Westchester Lady.” “It was weird, and I didn’t know what to think because it was not really a collaboration,” admits James. “They hadn’t asked me, there was no sort of permission or back and forth thing. But I’m happy to say that many many years later, I met Jazzy Jeff and we had a great conversation, and now we’re thinking about actually collaborating — when it’s not just a sample thing. I have always tried to respect the idea of creativity no matter how unpredictable — but one of the most [important] tools we have as creatives is copyrights.”

Bob James – “Nautilis”

Clearly, James has come to appreciate his position as one of the game’s most-sampled musicians, as he has officially brought his catalog to Tracklib so that producers, both established and up-and-coming, can sample his music without any potential confusion. As 9th opens up about his own experience discovering sampling, a process that naturally featured no shortage of crate-digging, it’s clear that he holds James’ discography in high regard. For anybody interested in production, not to mention the process that went into crafting some of hip-hop’s earliest classics, this latest clip from Tracklib is a must-watch. 

For more on sampling, check out our recent piece From King Von’s “Exposin Me” To CJ’s “Whoopty”: A Hindi Love Song Turned Drill Beat.