Bob James Sues Madlib & Stones Throw, Criticises Sampling


Legendary musician Bob James opens lawsuit against Madlib and Stones Throw and has some choice words for the hip hop music and its use of sampling.

Nautilus has been sampled too many times to mention but it looks like Bob James has taken his grievances at unlawful use to the court. According to Courthouse News, the Grammy winner is suing Madlib and his record label Stones Throw over illegal use of Nautilus on Quasimoto’s “Sparkdala” from “Yessir, Whatever”. Bob James and his label Tappan Zee Records said the following in their complaint:

“One of the problems that confront many ‘Hip Hop’ or ‘Rap’ artists is that they are unable to achieve an instrumental background musical sound quality for their works […] As a result, they borrow or ‘sample,’ therefore infringe the performance and composition of others in this case, the copywritten works of James and Tappan Zee.”

While I take the point made, it’s worth noting the concept of sampling isn’t the issue, rather doing so without permission. It’s a problematic issue that won’t go away quickly or at all but like we always say… CLEAR YOUR SAMPLES.

(via Courthouse News Service)

UPDATE: This article from goes much deeper into the lawsuit and also provides another quote:

“From my standpoint, I had to take a stand about it, because the copyright, and the maintaining of the ownership of copyright, are the most valuable and important things that we have in this business. And the control over the usage of it. And to have someone attempt to take that out from under you is a very big deal. And it’s a bigger deal from the standpoint of the record companies than the artist.”

About Luke Alex Davis

Luke Davis is a music producer and editor of music blog Sampleface. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tennis and football and reading.