For any of these tracks: who is the beat’s composer? Is it Jerry Lordan, the Incredible Bongo Band’s rhythm section, Kool Herc or whichever DJ first had the idea to loop the break by itself, or the producer who did the sampling? What’s the connection between Jerry Lordan’s song, the Bongo Band version, the Sugarhill Gang’s recreation of it and Missy Elliot’s song sampling that? There’s no simple answer. Electronic music has this way of undermining the concept of the singular composer. It’s like asking what the origin is of my blue eyes.
Ethan has a lot of great posts, like this one on Apache, that take me on decades-long musical odysseys that I come away from feeling smarter.