Published on December 1st, 2022

Girl Talk

Greg Gillis, better known to most of us as Girl Talk, once studied biomedical engineering with a focus on synthesizing animal tissue, and he went with his educated self into the working world fully prepared to contribute in that space. Lucky for us he decided instead it was more fun and interesting to engineer controversy — primarily as a DJ testing the boundaries of sampling, fair use, copyright and intellectual property.

Gillis’ deejaying and music-making landed him in hot water and in the arts pages of The New York Times, lending credence to the outlaw nature of producing mashups for rappers while also recruiting them for his own output. His Girl Talk discography goes back to 2002 — with artwork lifted from a kids’ board game —  and he’s worked with dozens of artists in that span, on their records and his.

Good collaborators help each other hear things differently, and with Girl Talk the result is genre-defying music that pulls from multiple sources. Gillis’ newest release, ”Full Court Press,” features Wiz Khalifa, Smoke DZA, and Big K.R.I.T. These rappers get the music leaning into trap territory, as is the style du jour for the weed-and-beats set. Whatever your pleasure, the songs are laid back with thick grooves to keep bodies swaying and heads bopping.

Creativity is a form of learning — finding or fabricating the connections between things and ideas in order to acquire new knowledge and expand possibilities. Hip-hop and mashups are as much about locating a shared language across disparate sounds as they are about creating one — the reason here being to summon a new hybrid entity that makes people want to get up and dance.

Girl Talk’s credo continues to be that collage and creative license can come from almost anywhere in music. And with the protections of fair use plus the inclusion of free use samples, there’s no shortage of opportunities to invent without hearing from lawyers at an investment firm that paid millions to monetize an artist’s catalog.

Girl Talk and Hugh Augustine perform 7pm Saturday, Dec. 10 at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. ~ Tim Moffatt