What Is A Sample Snitch, Exactly?

A cautionary tale of 4 samples, 2 geniuses, and a rat caught squealing on livestream.

Before you continue, check out Sampling Essentials for a complete guide to sampling. It shows you the fundamental skills you’ll need to flip any sample in less time.

Let’s continue…

Snitching is an open-and-shut case in hip-hop culture, and the consensus is clear: 

Don’t do it.

But when it comes to sample snitching, the rules depend on whom you ask.

I’m about to share a cautionary tale of what you should never do, especially as a sample-based producer…

What exactly is sample snitching?

I recently had a heated debate about snitching with a friend.

“It’s simple,” he said. “Anyone who talks to the authorities is a snitch.”

I shook my head. “Wrong. Snitching only applies to accomplices,” I said. “If two people are involved, and one tells on the other, that’s snitching.”

My friend sighed. “Telling is telling,” he began. “The who, what, where, when, and how are irrelevant.”

He spoke with conviction, like a master lawyer addressing the jury. “It’s like Biggie said: ‘if they think you’re snitching, they ain’t trying to listen.’ So all those nuances don’t matter.”

We went back and forth for at least 10 minutes.

It made me think about the meaning of sample snitching…

Is it someone who collaborates with you, and exposes your sample sources? Or is it anyone who reveals your samples?

After careful consideration, I found the answer.

It’s perfectly illustrated by someone who belongs in the dictionary next to the term sample snitch.

Exhibit A: sample snitching at its finest…

Todd Edwards, the artist who worked with Daft Punk on Discovery, is a sample snitch. 

During a TikTok live stream, he proudly exposed all the samples used on the song Face to Face by Daft Punk. 

Check it out. … I loaded up this disk [with] the samples for Face to Face. … I’m going to just go through all the samples, even the ones that weren’t used … just to prove that this is the actual disk…

— Todd Edwards (2023)

For context, Daft Punk released this record back in 2003. At the time, they only credited a handful of samples in the liner notes. The credited samples were longer and easier to spot. But for those of us familiar with sampling, we knew to keep our mouths shut…

A masterclass of sample composition

The variety of samples in Face to Face is incredible. Daft Punk chopped dozens of obscure funk and disco records, which kept the sample snoopers busy for nearly two decades.

And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those peeping producers! 

For years, fans treated Discovery like a treasure hunt, collecting the original samples for fun. And all along, the copyright police was listening and collecting the same samples as evidence.

Fortunately for us, we now have a deeper appreciation for just how great they were at sampling.

But unfortunately for Daft Punk, they might have bigger problems on their hands…

Sample snitching is the least of your worries…

As sample-based producers, we’ve got plenty of challenges to overcome.

At the very least, sampling itself should be the easy part.

That’s why it’s important to master the fundamentals.

If you can find and craft samples into beats, the rest will take care of itself. (Just Google “Kanye West sampling lawsuits” to find out…)

Avoid This Common Mistake…

The last thing to remember is this:

You can learn all the skills, tactics, and tools in the world…

But nothing will save your beats if you choose the wrong samples.

Too many producers struggle because their sample collection is limited. This causes them to force sounds and tactics that don’t work.

Check out Sample Quest for strategies you can use to uncover unique samples online.

These tactics are perfect for producers of all experience levels.

Don’t miss your chance to overcome this common mistake.

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