One year on from quitting The Housemartins and before he formed Beats International, Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, found moderate chart success with Blame It On The Bassline, a 1989 dance/rap crossover single featuring MC Wildski.
As was the fashion of the time (hello Coldcut, Bomb The Bass…), the track was built from samples, most notably The Jacksons’ Blame It On The Boogie.
As (a distinctly fresh-faced) Cook explained in this 1989 interview, the ‘politics of sampling’ is all about acknowledgement of the original source – both artistically and financially – even if it means having to get the thumbs up from the King of Pop himself…
“My politics of sampling is that if you borrow someone’s sound, it’s like you’re quoting them,” Cook explains.
“In the case of Blame It On The Bassline, we were openly saying, ‘we stole the bassline off Blame It On The Boogie’. If you do that, and you credit the person, and you make sure they get paid, I think that’s fair enough.
“But it’s when you just nick someone else’s idea, and use it and don’t credit them – maybe change one note out of their bassline and pretend you haven’t stolen it. There’s a difference between borrowing something and stealing it.”
As the future Pizzaman explains, moderation is an art that shouldn’t be overlooked either.
“It really depends what you do, if you nick one snare drum, is that really a crime? You might as well have just hit a snare drum.”
Still though, whatever happened to MC Wildski?
[Kudos to TheBestOfVoxPop for the YouTube upload]