Compliments Breed Confidence

Editor’s note: Droopy is a recent addition to our writing staff.

I dwell on certain concepts. There are some things I love observing, such as trends. The majority feels that a trend is whatever is cool at a certain point in time.  I disagree. Cool is not subjective. Although I have not figured out what all cool encompasses, I believe cool is objective. In the song Top Notch, Southwest Houston, Texas rapper Z-Ro says, “I can pass in every section; I can kick it in any spot.” Essentially cool is timeless and boundary-less. Notice the movement toward the objective cool- hip hop heads wear skinny jeans and hipsters wear skinny jeans. Devin the Dude fans wear fedoras and Mad Men fans wear fedoras (and yes the above comparisons are mutually exclusive).  Everyone else wears American Apparel to look as bland as possible in order to fit in just about anywhere.

I am not sure where cool came from. An old professor of mine believed that cool came from the jazz movement in New York, during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s.  Similarly, Norman Mailer, author of the White Negro felt that cool started when Caucasians would sneak into old jazz clubs and steal the style of the African American jazz musicians during the New Negro Movement.

Fast forward 50 years. Hip hop artists were biting beats and biting rhymes but not because they enjoyed the thrill of stealing.  Biters bite in order to pass someone else’s work off as their own, right? Well that’s what these artists had to say:

Grandmaster Caz

Treacherous 3 ft. Spoonie Gee

Busy Bee vs. Kool Moe Dee

Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

MC Shan

Kool G Rap and DJ Polo

Slick Rick

Doug E Fresh

Fast forward 20 more years and head down south, where imitation seems to be the sincerest form of flattery.  In the south, biting can be interpreted as a compliment.[1] What’s even more noteworthy, is that southern rappers rarely acknowledge who they are borrowing a line from because it is assumed the fans (1) are aware of the quoting (2) know that the quoting isn’t a bite.[2] As opposed to other parts of the country where hip hop artists have to defend quoting their peer’s rhymes in order to pay homage to them.[3] Peep game:

UGK (1993) was quoted by Slim Thug (2005)



Tupac (1998) was quoted by Z-Ro (2010)



The Big Tymers (1998) were quoted by Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh (1999)[4]



Fat Pat (1999) was quoted by Z-Ro (2010)



Lil Keke (1999) was quoted by Paul Wall (2010)



Big Moe (2002) was quoted by Lil Wayne (2010)



Fat Pat (1998) was quoted by Trae (2006)



I’d like to think I have some cool qualities. But I didn’t acquire those characteristics by myself, nor were they all inherited from my parents. Sometimes I borrowed, but I always gave props where props were due.  In the words of Pimpen Pen[5], as seen on his shirt, in this amazing performance, “we all we got.” So it only makes sense that we should be able to borrow each other’s coolness in order to do what we need to do. If you look closely at Pimpen Pen’s great show, you can see me, the white boy in the front, throwing up my hood, giving props where props are definitely due.  — Droopy

[1] Except for that unfortunate beef between Lil Flip and ESG in 2004, but come on ESG stole Flip’s notebook.

[2] This also shows the loyalty southern rap fans have for their artists.

[3] “I’m a writer not a biter, for myself and others. I say a B.I.G. verse, I’m only biggin’ up my brother.” – Jay Z.

[4] Granted, they were all on Cash Money at the time.

[5] An Austin, Texas rapper.

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