Annals of Unlikely Sample Clearance: How in the World Did Method Man, Ghostface, and Raekwon Clear Michael Jackson for “Our Dreams”?


When “Our Dreams,” the awesomely emo first single from the eponymous group effort from Method Man, Ghostface, and Raekwon (Rap Radar just confirmed that Wu Massacre, as in the cover, at left, is the name of the record and not the group) circulated a few weeks ago, we figured that’d be last anyone heard about it. Why? Because of the substantial chunk of the hook and sample on the verse is pulled from Michael Jackson’s “We’re Almost There”–a beast of a clearance, even amongst the elevated, no-permission-granted-ever climate of sampling in general today. And yet not 24 hours ago the song popped up again on an official Island/Def Jam site, streaming, with its own single art and everything. What gives? It’s not like these guys have Jay-Z’s money.

Well, the group’s Def Jam publicist says that the RZA himself produced the track, not one of his flock of (often Wu-Tang-employed) imitators, which suggests deeper pockets than those of your average Anthony Acid. The track streaming on Island/Def Jam’s official site means it’s definitely on the album, a fact that Elliott Wilson’s listening session report posted a few hours ago seems to confirm. That pretty much means the song’s been cleared. How? The answer probably involves lots of money and very little intrigue. Sorry, but that’s usually the way it goes! We’ve asked Def Jam if the story is more interesting than that, and will share if is. But probably, it’s not. Good song though–the Ghost verse is like a Valentine’s Day poem! [Def Jam]

Update: EW‘s Music Mix popped the question. And:

The first single from the Wu-Massacre album is “Our Dreams,” which prominently samples a Michael Jackson song. People have been wondering, how do you even clear a sample like that for release?

Right? I didn’t know that it could be cleared. But I guess people look at it like anything to keep his legacy alive is a great thing. That was definitely one of my favorite songs right there. That song was going to be on another album, but we kinda chilled, because we didn’t know if that fit the album that we wanted to come out with. We just felt like it worked better for this [Wu-Massacre] situation right here. But yeah, I didn’t think they could clear that sample either. I heard it on the radio. I was like, “Well, maybe they threw it out because they couldn’t clear it and just said, you know what, let’s give it to the DJs to have fun with it.” But it made it on the album. Shout out Def Jam for making it happen.

So there you have it.

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