Is Hip Hop Lacking Originality?
[Letters Pt 2]

What up Davey!

I totally agree with the theories and thoughts you reflect in the latest newsletter.

The biting was already present when Dr. Dre came out with "The Chronic" in '93... The production on "Nuthin' But A "G" Thang" was taxed off an old record (I think it was "The Chi-Lites") and Dre only added some strings to it (that were to epitomize the whole gangsta rap era by the way!)...

And Puffy... Sh*t Puffy is one big joke! He cannot come up with anything original anymore... Back when Craig Mack was signed to Bad Boy they had some decent tracks with solid production AND rhymes, but now, Puffy embodies the word "sell-out" in the worst way possible...

The "new and improved" formula for recordmaking is in fact cover versions and imitation tracks, which are pushing hella units at the moment!! Look at everything coming out the Bad Boy camp... unoriginal!

My question is: Who is buying these commercial and non-innovating albums? On your message board the majority can agree that albums like Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown are wack, but those are among the most popular albums out...? Maybe it has got something to with the fact that hip-hop is diversifying too much into other genres and needs to get back on track and focus on the basic elements... Too many non hip-hoppers have already jumped the bandwaggon and have solidly planted themselves on hip-hop's dick, which gives our music a "wrong" target audience that could destroy hip-hop... To them I say: Get off it, please...

Hip-hop is not mainstream and should NEVER try to be mainstream, because mainstream trends mostly live short lives as opposed to underground subcultures that live and breed as long as people keep them underground...

Here in Denmark the hip-hop undergound is very much alive, and only a small handful of acts have embarked on the mainstream journey... As late as last saturday I attended an underground jam with breakers, graf painters, rappers and dj's... ALL the original 4 elements were represented... And I know for a fact that hip-hop is preserved the same way in the majority of the remainding European countries...

I hope you followed me on some points, but you will have to excuse me if my mind just started travelling strange places... Peace...


Wassup davey D!!!!!

I must agree with you that hiphop is lacking originality. Like The RZA mentions on the new CD, everybody is copying other people's style.....I'm sick of Puff Daddy and all his bullshit..

As JERU says "Your only a playa, cause you playin ya self."



Dave, I been saying this all along as respect to the "originality" in rap. When will it end? I tell you when it will end....when we as consumers of the artform REFUSE to stand for it....That is how.....Hit em where they live is what I say. When I heard Snoop doing the Vapors I was disgusted. You know the bad part of it...The youngstas coming up now think that this is original. We as in the older generation have to school them about our music. Just like KRS says, rappers depending on marketing and promotion instead of talent.....He should also add creativity.....When Eric B and Rakim came out with Paid in Full, that was creativity. Puffy comes out with his album, that is just a ripoff. Anyway, thanx for the forum.....


Folks simply aren't stretching their imagination anymore.. All their doing is biting and "remaking popular songs.. Yes, this has always happened.. but now things have gotten out of hand.. Am I off base or what...? email me at and let me know... But I think today's artists are out to lunch and lacking some serious creativity.."

Greatness is built on the achievement of others. The flavor in the remake is always is always different. American Black Blues and White English remakes. Is Eric Clapton not valid and unique? Of course he is. Davey, you are now officially old school. Remember when you were coming up back in KPOO/KPFA days. How many samples of James Brown permetated every which thing. The primary listening audience was toddling or less "No Women, No Cry" first hit.

That being said you know the pressure of the industry. Hi kid, you want to get paid? or I'm coming up, I want to get paid. So give me something that I know will be a hit. Derivitives with no soul always mark 80 % of new media on the edge. But I like The Fugees remake of Marley, Wonderful jam. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water,

Krishna Jon Dukes

Dear Davey D:

Greetings brother. I was just reading your new letter dated 6-5-97. I wanted to respond to the piece about artist being original. I agree that artist are not being original alot of groups are biting songs from wherever they can get them. Man oh man everyone is doing it. I was listening to the roots album and when I hear the music it sounds like a Toni TonyTone song I was like damn. I think the reason that folks use some hooks from other folks stuff is that they are catchy and that some artist are afraid to mess with the song to make their own flava so they won't be accussed of messiing up the song. to me the best form is to play the hook yourself. It makes the whole thing more interesting. I love hip-hop to death but folks need to get creative with what they do with the music.

Sometimes I think that Hip-hop is a flooded market because anyone can make a record now. Back in the day it was only a few that were doing it but now it is outta hand. I not dissing anyone. But there are alot of people putting out wack product on major and independent record labels."Too many fans and not enough artists" My advice to most is that if your serious about it you should not be in it for the money bottom line. People need to be in it for the love of the music. "Props only come when you drop some dope and original."


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