On February 19, 2018, the sampling demo and discussion, “Sampling Black History: Examining the Evolution of Hip-Hop in America,” brought an audience of all ages and backgrounds to hear artist, producer and academic perspectives on the history and future of hip-hop music and culture in the United States.

Legendary hip-hop producer Hank Shocklee joined SPCS artist-in-residence and hip-hop artist Donnie “Mad Skillz” Lewis in leading a demonstration of sampling, along with its history and use, in mainstream and hip-hop music. Following the demonstration, Shocklee and Lewis were joined by UR Law School professor Chris Cotropia, Director of the Intellectual Property Center, to discuss the legal implications of sampling along with the role sampling plays in creativity.

The discussion was moderated by UR SPCS professor Erik Nielson, who studies hip-hop and testifies as expert witness in legal cases using rap lyrics as evidence.

Following the demo and discussion, Shocklee and Lewis chatted at length with attendees at a reception, enabling attendees remarkable access to music legends.