Sampling often leads to lawsuits and thus controversies. Usually it’s an open-and-shut case (for the court any how) when some sampled a bit of music directly and they didn’t get permission to use it from the owners of the rights to the original (which mind you isn’t necessarily the person performing the song or even the person who wrote it). But it becomes harder to do so when the original isn’t directly sampled but re-played.

In 1977 R&B group The Emotions released the song Best of My Love which became a huge success. Like many songs by The Emotions and other R&B and funk artists, Best of My Love has been sampled a lot in in hiphop and dance music.

Some simply sampled parts that make it clearly distinguishable, like 3rd Bass in Brooklyn-Queens (1989), King Bee in a Must Be the Music remix (1990), Full Force in Ain’t my Type of Hype (1990), Positive K’s Car Hoppers (1992), C.J. Lewis in Best of My Love (1994), Tamia’s Falling For You (1997), B-Rock & the Bizz in My Baby Daddy (1997), Cut Copy in Lights & Music. There’s even a rendition in a Sonic the Hedgehog game.

More often though samplers focus on the “oww”-shout from that song. De La Soul did it in Say No Go (1989), Armand van Helden in Alright (1994), Nine in Whutcha Want (1995) and Deavid Soul in Miller Ball Breakers (2000).

But the most interesting case comes from Mariah Carey who released the song Emotions in 1991. The song, though it doesn’t use any direct sample, is obviously inspired by and a tribute to Best of My Love. The title of the song Emotions is a bluntly obvious direct reference to the original artists The Emotions. Despite this, the original songwriter of Best of My Love, Maurice White, decided to sue the producers of Emotions, David Cole and Robert Clivilles otherwise known as C+C Music Factory. The matter was settled out of court and Mariah Carey would later sample another song by The Emotions, Blind Alley (1972), directly in Dreamlover (1993). I assume the rights to that one were nicely cleared beforehand.

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