Jacked beats e.g. on Mixtapes - how to credit correctly?

On Hip Hop Mixtapes a rapper will often take a beat from another song and rap over it. How should that be linked to the original song?

  • A cover is obviously not the right thing, as the music is not rerecorded and the newly recorded part (the lyrics) are often completely different.
  • A remix isn’t right, as nothing of the original song is re-mixed. The beat is just taken as is.
  • A sample is not correct either if you take the whole instrumental track and don’t change it at all.
  • Mash-up would be right if the lyrics also come from a previously recorded track.
  • Karaoke Version - I can’t really imagine this relationship type would ever be used, but I guess it would somewhat fit if the rapper rapped the same lyrics over the jacked beat (but that never happens afaik).
  • If the lyrics are at least similar to the original (like an homage to the original track) a remix or cover relationship might be right, but what if they are not?

E.g. this track uses this recording (or rather this instrumental version). Currently the only link is “produced by CYNE” which feels very wrong as “CYNE” is not a producer, it’s a group consisting of 1 (back then 2) rappers and 2 producers and they always cite the production credits on their works as “produced by Speck and Enoch” (or one of the two), but never as “produced by CYNE”.
I don’t think jacked beats should have production credits at all, as no new music was produced.

PS: There is also the “work is based on work” relationship, but the guidelines for that clearly state “The new work must be a new composition, not just an arrangement or the same music with different or translated lyrics.” But it doesn’t say what to use instead.


I do this on the work level and try and have sample relationships on the recording level.

I create a new work with all the writers including the writers of the original song that the work samples.
I then create a work for the original song and add “is based on” relationship to link the new song to the original song or songs that have been sampled.
You can link to secondhandsongs and whosampled on the work level to capture this relationship.

If you can find the recording of the song that is sampled add a recording level relationship recording “samples” recording.

What you describe as well as your example (I listened to both songs) are simple samples. That’s not what I’m talking about.

IMO it is a (track-long) sample.

I don’t know if there is an official definition for “sampling”, but I never hear the term used for taking the whole instrumental and not changing it at all or adding anything (except for vocals).

The MB guide for samples says:

The song doing the sampling must contain sufficient original material that it cannot be considered a remix.

And I guess remix really is the closest match of all existing relationship types. It’s a remix if you only take the a capella and create a whole new instrumental track for it, so why not consider the other way around the same?

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I’ve definitely seen cases where a Spanish rapper for example takes a famous American beat, raps over it, and calls it “American Song Title (Spanish remix)” or something like that.

On the work level, I’d use “based on” - at some point it might make sense to add something like “reuses the music/lyrics of”. Keep in mind newly composed music / written lyrics (even if for a “remix” of this sort) require a new work :slight_smile: