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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how the prevalence of mainstream sample-based hip hop has evolved over the last fifteen years. It locates the mid-2000s as a moment in which sampling had been severely marginalized, and elaborates the confluence of factors—including the prominence of the Southern production style, commercialization of hip hop, and the rise of the ringtone industry—that yielded the subgenre of “ringtone rap.” Primarily drawing on Billboard charts, as well as a novel metric called the “Sample-Based Score,” this chapter charts the rise and fall of hip hop sampling vis-à-vis ringtone rap, up through the contemporary moment. It ultimately concludes that sampling is more prominent today than it was during the ringtone rap era, but will not return to its 1990s ubiquity given the trends toward digitalization in hip hop production.

Keywords: sample-based hip hop, Southern hip hop, ringtone rap, ringtone industry, digital hip hop production

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