The Library of Congress is launching an open-source archive of hip-hop samples dating back more than a century

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One of the driving forces within hip hop in the 90’s was people trying to find new samples that hadn’t been used before. There was a whole scene of record dealers who would dig up loops (especially open drum breaks) for producers and DJs. I think it was one of the Dust Brothers who said something like “there’s no point in hearing ‘Funky Drummer’ ever again.”

So, providing the same sonic palette for everyone to use is a nice gesture, but you could beat-box or hum into a mic and get something just as useful, and 100% original.

That said, this is still pretty cool as a creative toy. Certainly more interesting than other common music freeware. It appears to be all mp3 files, so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to make a hit song with it, but would be great for kids to go wild with.


With automatic copyright infringement detection systems like YouTube’s ContentID, and soon to be mandatory in EU copyright filters, reusing anything is becoming a bad idea, even when it is legal - algorithms can’t determine fair use.

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I wrote this song with the help of this LoC DJ tool


And a friend of mine’s creation using this:

Hip-hop samples dating back more than a century? Did hip-hop really exist that long ago?

The title is troublesome. What’s being offered are audio (and visual) samples (sourced from >100 years of the LoC’s archived material) that can be used creatively by “hip-hop artists and producers”.

I see no reason why the samples could not be used in other genres of music. It’s all up to the user.



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This is why the idea of locking down or regulating “ownership” of culture is both futile and harmful to creativity. All people have the right to remix,share and produce new strands in the infinite tapestry of human culture.


This tool is bomb ass dope

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Should have the right, yeah.

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