RCA Spent Nearly A Year Clearing All The Samples On Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s ‘Bandana’

Jun 4, 2019 by Chris Mench @Chris_Mench

Freddie Gibbs Madlib Bandana

“We developed a strategy and managed to get it all squared away.”

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s long-awaited album, Bandana, finally has a release date, and the press cycle surrounding the project is heating up. In a new interview with Billboard, Keep Cool Records co-founder Tunji Balogun explained how the project came together, and revealed that Madlib’s penchant for samples led to a year-long clearance process for the record.

“I was scared because I thought [this album] was going to have 100 samples and be super hard to clear, but we developed a strategy and managed to get it all squared away,” he said. “Our team at RCA, they spent almost a year painstakingly clearing these songs.”

Madlib has used well over 1,000 samples throughout his career, and it appears Bandana will be no exception. Although we don’t know all the samples on the album just yet, its lead single, “Flat Tummy Tea,” contains portions of two other tracks. It seems likely that many other songs on the album will follow a similar path.

The origins of sample clearance trace back to the earliest days of hip-hop, and continue to be an issue for artists to this day. Earlier this year, Logic sounded off about his disdain for the sample clearance process after he was forced to forfeit all of the publishing rights to his 2019 song, “Can I Kick It,” to the estate of Lou Reed.

In a recent interview with Genius, songwriter Tayla Parx expressed her own frustration with sampling. “I think lately there’s been a lot of going overboard with the amount of percentage you take on a sample,” she said. “I think there should be set rates based off how much you actually took, whether you took a melody or you took a lyric. Right now, we’re just in a hot spot for people saying, ‘Hey, my song might not be as relevant and I’m gonna milk this.’”

Genius previously broke down how producers and composers can work together to avoid expensive sample clearance issues:

Read Tunji’s full Billboard interview here and catch up on everything we know about Bandana on Genius now.