Soca Sampling or Trampling?

This soca picture ain't quite right!

On Thursday, in my post, "Comando Tiburon Ripping Off Soca Music," I was rather upset that a Panamanian DJ, Mista Bombo was taking credit for having produced 'Jingle PH 2011' which is a Spanish version of JW & Blaze's 'PALANCE' for the Panamanian group, Comando Tiburon. Even when I wrote Mista Bombo, he responded callously, "... they're accustom of doing it with covers from previous years so I continued the habit." And when I thought, in one day, I'd heard and seen the worst, by evening I discovered Comando Tiburon had also ripped off the late Blazer Dan's 'Stages' with their Spanish version. Most alarming at that time was whomever uploaded the video, a ZICARLOS, his page had almost 26 million views. Now ZiCarlos' page has 26 055 573 views. It is so blatant that the real artistes and producers are not getting credited for their music from those viewing fans.

Even more understandable is the outrage from Trinibagonians, soca lovers throughout the Caribbean, the World and just about anyone who has a love for the birthplace of soca. Make no mistake, IT IS Trinidad & Tobago, and not Panama. Yesterday, I was witness to some passionate comments on the Facebook fanpage of Trinidad Entertainer, Rachel Price when Price posed the question:

"What COTT (Copyright Music Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago) really getting paid to do? Comando Tiburon HAS STOLEN from Trinbago artistes & producers ... It has been said "imitation is the greatest form of flattery"... F**KERY at its highest! Tiburon isn't "imitating" they are STEALING! Literally taking ADVANTAGE of our artistes and our toothless, BALLS-less bulldog COTT. All they need to do now is try it with We KNOW Liz aint taking dat...bless"

Along with her statement, she attached a link for Comando Tiburon 'Te Vote' which undeniably sounds exactly like Destra's 'Bonnie & Clyde.' Since writing my article on Thursday and venting, I later updated my post to include that Comando Tiburon was also ripping off Destra, until I noticed Destra's 'Bonnie & Clyde' was neither authentic.  Destra samples A-Ha's  'Take on Me'.

So then reality hit ... I began to wonder what was the appropriate words to type, even when it came to Destra. Was I to type 'ripped off,' 'stole' or 'sampled'? Why would I use the harsh words 'ripped off' when it came to Comando Tiburon and 'sampled' for Destra? ... And it was then, I could tell, I had to be honest with myself. So now your turn. What would your choice words be for Destra and all other soca artists who engage in such?  'Ripped off', 'stole' or 'sample'? How different it all looks when the shoe is on the other foot! It took the following email from a Sweet 7 fan to make me put my tail between my legs and left me saying ... what's good for Peter (Trinidad) is good for Paul (Panama). 

Soca Sampling or Trampling? 

Hey I just read your article about the wholesale stealing of soca music (namely JW& Blaze's Palance) by Comando Tiburon. Great blog! It is so rude how he responded to you, so smug! Kernel Roberts produced and wrote Palance, so maybe he should be upset right? But I don't know. It is something that has been bothering me for a hot minute and that brings me to my issue with the whole thing. It is easy for producers to use others' melodies to make music because familiar melodies make people gravitate to songs, just ask Diddy and Kanye.

Anyways I can't get too angry with these other people because soca acts have been using other people's music for a long time. And because we (the soca massive) all allow it, then people stealing our beloved soca melodies and us throwing up a big hoopla about it makes us all look a bit hypocritical.

Take these songs for example listen to the subtle and sometimes glaring similarities between them if you may.
(Listen to the first few bars of the first verses of both songs)

Now these are big soca songs but if the leaders in our soca industry (artists and regulators) have no issues in "borrowing" samples from other genres and even soca what do we expect from others who steal our music? I never hear about The Copyright Music Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) or The National Carnival Commission (NCC) launching any massive inquest into our musicians sampling other artistes. It's no excuse but soca artists have a short time to get their music played, heard and loved and this short frame may require the use of disguising old melodies to make new songs attractive to the masses. Plus with the massive influx of foreigners to the islands we would want them to enjoy the music as much as possible.

Which leads to our acts using other people's music in their performances too and I mean singing TOP 40 songs during their performances. Not that I mind it, I actually enjoy the mixing of genres. But if we the soca massive at large start condemning others for sampling (or regurgitating) our music it becomes a case of pots calling kettles black. If we try to launch a witch hunt for the wrong doers then we would and/or should open our artists up to the same critiquing. Right?

What you think about that? Meaning the flip side ie., soca artists making money off of other people's music? I have been thinking about this for years and it always leads me to this quote ...

"Good artists copy. Great artists steal." Pablo Picasso.

.... And I ask again, NOW WHAT SAY YOU?


  1. If we're comparing what Tiburon did to what Destra did i would definitely say Destra sampled while he stole/copied. It's one thing to use a beat from an existing song and another to just the beat, lyrics, AND dance.

    Sidenote. I am def not saying that sampling and not paying for the beat or w/e is okay but Tiburon def took it to a whole other level. If he had just used the palance melody i'm pretty sure people would not be as riled up.

  2. wow exceptional post! I think the difference with Destra and the other trini artist, they took a hook, beat or riddim and then made a song out of it( not sure they get the owner of said song permission) unlike Tiburon who has blatantly stolen the entire song including dance movements without acknowledging the origin.

    I think every song you did the comparison too the next song , I knew and that's why those were some of my personal favorites, so if something is good use it twice, maybe even three but call it either a COVER ( so owner is recognize ) or be origin and put your own spin on it. Trinis are angered because I don't think anyone was aware that was going on in Panama, whereas Machel can get Lil Jon and pitbull on his track because they are aware of thee soca fusion with their music!