All This Originality Is Killing Me !

Earlier this afternoon I was having a conversation with some of my fellow djs when one of them, Gill Alexander.. an old schooler at heart began blurting out how dissatisfied he was with the current state of hip hop. 'What happened to originality? he asked. 'It's one thing to sample a song.. it's another thing to not flip it and put some of your own flava into the mix' He pulled out our playlist and went through song after song and pointed out just how unoriginal today's current crop of rappers were... He noted the new jam by Lil Kim and Too Short entitled 'Call Me'.. It was pointed out that Lil Kim was basically plagiarizing from the old funk band Sky and their classic song of the same title... If you listen to her hook and compare it with the hook from Sky and there you have it.. the same song redone..

Another partner pointed out the hook from Tracey Lee's hit record 'The Theme' was siphon from the old Saturday Morning cartoon 'School House Rock'... He began singing the original hook... 'All the places that I go/ All the people that I know/ All the things that I can show/ I call them nouns...oh I call them nouns... Now that's straight up biting..

Another remake is Mac Dre's Raining Game In Northern California which was generously borrowed from Toni Tony Tone...and lets not forget Foxy Brown and Jay Z's hit.. 'I'll Be' which is a hip hop interpolation of the Renee and Angela grove 'I'll Be Good'. Perhaps the most flagrant of the bunch is a group that's being hailed all around the world...The Fugees. They made their mark when they remade the Roberta Flack classic 'Killing Me Softly'.. It was off the hook.. But as one sifted through their landmark album all you heard were hip hop covers of songs... No Woman No Cry was a remake of the Bob Marley classic.. Fu-ge-la-la was a remake of the Tina Marie song 'Ohh La La La' . Even on their solo projects you have remakes like 'Staying Alive' ala Saturday Night Fever.

Finally we have the hip hop remakes of other hip hop songs.. Yes imitation is a form of flattery.. but damn I think a few lines have been crossed.. Let's see we can began with Snoops' remake of Biz Markie's 'The Vapors'. Next we have all sorts of Puff Daddy songs ranging from KRS-One's 'South Bronx' for his group Total to his current single 'I'll Be Missing You' which is a straight up bite from the rock group The Police.. In between you have songs like 'Mo Money Mo Problems' which borrows from Diana Ross'a 'I'm Coming Out'. Heck we even have Puffy artists remaking Puffy songs.. Note Lil Kim's song 'Dreams' is a remake of Biggie's song of the same name.

Let's not forget all the rhyme biting which is going on.. Once upon of time that was hip hop's most sacred rule..Nowadays it's regularly violated by everyone including KRS-One.. Listen to the remix of 'Step Into My World' and note that KRS's first line comes from T-La Rock's classic 'It's Yours'. There's also Oakland based group Cydal and their borrowing a verse from Humpty Hump and his song 'Humpty Dance'. We also have the very popular song 'Just Another Case' by Cru which utilizes in it's chorus a verse from Slick Rick's 'Children's Story'.

I don't know.. say what you want.. But hip hop although it's always sampled from other music has definitely gotten lazy.. 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..

written by
Davey D
c 1997

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