Christmas has come and gone, it’s now 2008. The hustle and bustle of shopping and family times have wound down and by now we’re all transitioning back into the routine of work or school (maybe a few pounds heavier though). Although the season has passed, I feel a little obliged to tell a personal Christmas story. And, although it deals with a difficult subject, I find it completely necessary to discuss. The reason is simple. I will take every opportunity I can, as I believe all people of faith should, to speak out against, discredit, and fight injustice and ignorance.
U2’s Bono nailed the sentiment. In over 20 years of listening to holy hip hop (First purchase: 1986 / Stephen Wiley’s “Bible Break” single – on tape!), I have yet to run across The Perfect Christian Rap Album.
On December 17th, 1991, Judge Kevin Thomas of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction against Warner Bros. Records that changed the direction of Hip Hop music forever. The case was, of course, over sampling and copyright infringement. Biz Markie, a signed artist of Warner Bros. Records (and inventor of the slang “Oh, Snap!”) used a sample from the song “Alone Again (Naturally)” by singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan. The case set a precedent for the music industry and created a wave of legal woes still felt by Hip Hop producers to this day. It was ruled that 100% of all samples must be cleared first by the original copyright owners before any third party use.