Gregg Gillis, who DJs under the pseudonym Girl Talk, finished an album two months ago made entirely of sampled music and released it on the Internet three days later.
His mix, called Feed The Animals, has become the mashup sensation of the summer, in part because it follows Radiohead's pay-what-you-want, download-only model, but mostly because it uses 300-plus easily recognizable samples.
On November 12, he'll play the 2,500-capacity Kool Haus, most likely without a CD in stores.
In contrast, Christopher Wallace, who rapped under the handle of Notorious B.I.G. before his death in 1997, completed his album Ready To Die in 1993 but waited more than a year before its release. It spent months in record-label limbo and was eventually stripped of most of its marquee samples.
Two weeks ago, the original Ready To Die, the so-called O.G. Edition, was for the first time made available for download as it was originally intended, uncleared samples and all.
Rap artists have often ended up in court for taking other musicians songs without permission. These cases are too numerous to list here, but most recently, Lil Wayne got hit with a suit for using a melody that sounded similar to a Rolling Stones song.
So why has Girl Talk never been sued - or even threatened with litigation - for his brazen sampling, while it took almost 15 years for Notorious B.I.G.'s uncut album to surface?
The Internet and pay-whatever scheme may give Girl Talk something of a shelter, because the product is not actually being sold. Other factors include Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle's vehement defence of sampling, specifically of Girl Talk. Doyle also happens to be Gillis's representative in Washington.
But consider this: Girl Talk has inspired an online sample guessing game where users track down every snippet of the songs used in his mix. All of a sudden, everyone and their blog roll are twittering about Elton John's Honky Château and Aphex Twin's Girl/Boy EP - music that had been off the radar. Why would any record label get in the way of that kind of unsolicited promo?
But perhaps the most plausible reason for the legal hands-off is that put forth by the gossip site Jossip: the DJ behind Girl Talk "is just too cute for litigation."
Leak of the week
Jay-Z is prepping a Kanye West-helmed threequel to his classic Blueprint album, appropriately titled The Blueprint 3. The first track leaked is the bass-line-free banger Jockin' Jay-Z.