Play It Again, Sampler

A revolutionary device turns pop on its ear by enabling musicians to beg, borrow and steal sounds from all over

When you hear new songs on the radio these days, do they have a familiar ring? Listen more closely to what's tickling your subconscious. In many cases you did hear that sound before, maybe long ago. It's the James Brown beat that's now in a rapper's groove, or the recycled '60s riff in a current dance- floor hit. It's the steam heat of the early '80s hit Under Pressure recycled in the vanilla-rap hit Ice Ice Baby, and the streak of the funk classic Super Freak revived for M.C. Hammer's U Can't Touch This.

That oldies echo in your ears is...

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