The James Mtume Interviews

Sonically Lazy

by Mtume

​I always looked at sampling like somebody making a quilt. The quilt is made up of many other blankets. You have to learn how to make your own blanket.

The James Mtume Interviews - Jake Feinberg Show Part 1 - Part II and Part III

I always tell all the young brothers and sisters, sampling is cool, but it’s a pit stop. You’re not supposed to live there. You stop there to get your tires changed and your oil. Then you have to go on; it’s a pit stop. Unfortunately a lot of people stay there and ultimately never learn how to create music for themselves.

​I don’t put down hip hop. I think it was a very creative thing, because for the young black kids, music was taken out of the schools. When was the last time anybody’s seen a music store in a black neighborhood? Maybe thirty years ago. You go to Harlem, and there are no music stores. It was the genius of desperation that brought about sampling. It also kept the DNA of Funk and RnB alive for kids who never really heard them. It’s gotten to the point now where a lot of the cats are playing with a band, and I find that terribly interesting.

​We have to go back to the period when hip hop was starting. There was a great social divide in the black community between the older blacks and younger blacks, especially black men.

​Many in my generation denigrated hip hop and rap. But each generation brings its own music. That divide gave a lot of anger to the hip hop artists, who felt they weren’t getting respect. If you have no youth and all old people, your glass is half empty. All youth with no age, your glass is half full.

​We have become sonically lazy. The only cat who ever broke out of the box was Sun Ra. The rest of us, I don’t care what avenue we take, we’re still in that box.

James Mtume

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