Last week, South African music producer and SAMA nominee Sketchy Bongo became an instrument of controversy when he was called out by The Kiffness for taking a shortcut on ‘Get Right’ with Sheen Skaiz.
The saga began by The Kiffness throwing shade on Bongo in his Facebook post titled “How to make a #1 Hit Single on 5FM…I’ve been doing it wrong all this time”. According to the post, the song Get Right by Sheen Skaiz ft Sketchy Bongo was nothing more than a mere duplication of a sample called Future soul’ by Sample Magic layered with a great set of vocals. This was met by an immediate outrage by both fans and musos alike.
Sample Magic is the world’s leading provider of pro-audio loops and samples to music producers across a range of genres, from house and electro through dubstep to disco to chill-out and soundtrack. According to their website, any producer or purchaser of their products is within the right to use the samples commercially:
“You may use the sounds in combination with other sounds within your musical compositions. You may release such compositions commercially without payment of any further fees or royalties for such usage. For example, if you are the original purchaser of Funky House Grooves and you used sounds from it to create the soundtrack of a television commercial, simply by combining a drum loop sample with a guitar loop sample, and the TV advert was broadcast hundreds of times, you would keep all the royalties that the advert earns you, because you already purchased a private license to use the sounds commercially”
However, despite the fact the Bongo is technically within a legal right to use the Sample Magic property as his own, it becomes a question of ethics when he is credited for the music production of a track that reveals little to no manipulation when compared to the original sample (apart from the signature Sketchy Bongo voice-over that often appears at the start of his tracks).
The similarity between the two is so obvious that it barely calls for debate, unless it’s a debate of ethics, and rightly so.
In his post, The Kiffness extended his commentary by saying:
“…I’d like to think that songs like “Back to the Beach” & “Let You Know” were produced himself. With the success of these songs he was obviously in high demand – he probably struggled to keep up with the demand & obviously took some shortcuts. So I don’t think his talent is in question, but rather his ethics”.
Sampling music has become the mainstay in contemporary music and it would be ignorant to deny the culture that has developed over the years. Not only is sampling common practice in South Africa but across the international spectrum. In South Africa especially, we see mainstream artists like AKA, Casper Nyovest, Die Antwoord, Euphonic, Goodluck, and even The Kiffness engaging with the tradition of sampling and drawing from the technique. The question here is; how much is too much and when do you draw the line?
According to the rant that ensued on Facebook by fans and industry professionals, it is believed that this is not the first time that Bongo had ‘excessively sampled’.
Take a look at these and let us know what you think in the comments section below, or join the conversation on Facebook!
How to make a #1 hit single on 5FM…I've been doing it wrong all this time!
Posted by The Kiffness on Thursday, 8 June 2017
Get Right by Sheen Skaiz ft Sketchy Bongo:
Future Soul Sample by Sample Magic:
Tropical House Demo SM67 by Sample Magic.
Locnville & Sketchy Bongo – Cold Shoulder