Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Music & Performing Arts



First Advisor

Lanier Sammons


This paper will explain how sample clearance has impacted hip-hop music-making. It will explain what a sample is and show the historical significance of sampling in hip-hop. I will briefly discuss the basics of copyright and the process of clearing a sample. This paper will also look into legal cases of copyright infringement to show the impact of specific cases and analyze data to determine if the amount of sample clearance has changed because of the decisions of the courts. The main goal of this paper is to highlight the significance of sampling in hip-hop, the inherent challenges of legally clearing samples, and the effect copyright laws have on hip-hop music-making.


Links for the EP I made alongside this paper. Every track has a sample in it and 6 out of the 11 have cleared samples.