28Feb/1114

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)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnP1XmxyqxA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-loPhU7uKw

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psBEj6cUXyk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TF8h24h8J4

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTMmapEBycg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yX7SYBiVFI&feature=related

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60WeYXC5xjg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yprs7HYWPM

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN35i2V-T9U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB6w8FkOEjc

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPgTbe4jGUg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E3hDkfJb9c

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N42Ob4FGXo8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFCY1RIZ-WA

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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14 Responses to “Compliments Breed Confidence”

  1. Beneficial says:

    ya XXL has been doing this certain column for years…..

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  2. Hamza 21 says:

    I’d like to think I have some cool qualities.

    Even as youngster 30 years ago it was known if you think you’re cool you’re not. I have question: Do you think you’re man or do you know you’re man? If you have think about it it’s a safe bet you’re not down.

    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.

    Nope! Biting is biting and only a person from the south would try to justify that foul behavior. Ask an older head like That Kid Named Cee or DJ Needlz about biting since you’re from Houston. They’ll school you on the concept.

    Being ,I’m guessing, you’re under 30 years of age you don’t have experience of living in Hip Hop culture before it the mainstream in late 1980’s. Taking the best of what came before and added on is what propels Hip Hop culture forward. Wholesale stealing is what has kept Hip Hop in the south from always being in the margins and never fully accepted into the culture. From the weak lyrics that couldn’t even pass muster in 1970’s to second rate 1985 demo style beats the south as a whole has not fully involved itself into the culture which explains their lack of creativity and diversity. In another words they don’t know that they don’t know. Adversity and competition breed competence and creativity. Counterfeiting and imitating breed contempt and scorn.

    Biting,imitating is foul behavior. Hip Hop’s growth is due to creativity which born of inspiration. Biting inspires no one. I can’t name one biter in Hip Hop culture who respected or inspired anyone can you?

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    • douglas says:

      Wow I live the confidence man. It almost sounds like you are overcompensating for something.

      I am below 30. I can’t help when I was conceived player! Would you rather me be a 26 year old that wears addidas suits and Kangol hats? Hell no! Thats why I sport Dickies. I’ll have you know I was jammin’ screw since 92′.

      Biting is not biting unless you’re going by elementary school MLA handbook plargarism criteria. Off the top of my head I can thing of biting, quoting, ghosting, and sampling.

      Lastly, hip hip’s growth does come from creativty. Creativity can come form anything. It can come from your homeboy, happiness, drama, or out of thin air like you suggest.

      I appreciate the comment. Got nothing but respect for you bruh. I will look up those DJs you was tabbinbout.

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  3. Versive says:

    There is a big difference between totally jacking a line and re-working it to create something new. The 1st requires absolutely no creativity, the 2nd requires at least some. Flagrant imitation shouldn’t earn you any ‘cool’ points.

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  4. Thun says:

    How come borked out super-conscious underground four Velamints of hop-hip types never criticize De La Soul for making entire songs based on quotes from other rappers?

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    • Versive says:

      I don’t know that I fit that criteria, but I’ll try to answer anyway. It probably has something to do with what I said before. When use another MC’s line and take it somewhere else via your own sense of style that comes off as more original than were merely regurgitating someone else’s lyrics without injecting any sense of originality.

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      • Thun says:

        Sounds completely subjective.

        My theory is that Five Velamints backpackers don’t actally know very much about hip hop prior to 1996 so they never heard “Ego Trippin’ Pt 2” and even if they did they wouldn’t be able to identify all the borrowed lines.

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        • versive says:

          I probably still can’t identify ALL of them. That’s a good idea for an article though: a works cited for Ego Trippin Pt. 2

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  5. verge says:

    “…hip hop heads wear skinny jeans and hipsters wear skinny jeans.”

    ^Was this a typo?

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