I was listening to Z-ro’s “Life” album the other day and a song called “Screw Did That” came out. That song’s about people using the chopped and screwed style in their music and supposedly not showing respect to the originator of the style. In hip-hop we make paying homage and “not stealing” ideas, lyrics, styles, etc. from people a big deal. However, in art you have to differentiate influence from imitation.
Another instance of this swagger jackin stuff was when Ludacris had that beef with Big Sean . Big Sean was like, “aw yeah man I made dat supa dupa flow, fools be tryna jock me or whatever cuz I’m da best”. And Ludacris had made “Bada Boom” in response. People aren’t into beef nowadays so a lot of people were just like oh Ludacris is pickin fights or whatever, but the point is that in rap music we take this seriously. IT’S NOT A GAME.
There’s also stuff like when Jay-Z was called out for “swagger jacking” because he used the lyrics of some peers and hip-hop legends in his song. Some argue that he was paying homage, others argue that he was just stealing them. I can’t really tell, but Jay-Z isn’t really the only one to do this and still feel a level of success from it. Elzhi’s “Elmatic” was practically just covers of “Illmatic” and people loved it (including me, but it got old quick ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Also, plenty of other rappers used lyrics from old songs. I can’t think of how many times I’ve heard “cash rules everything around me CREAM” in a song, but you know it’s on some reminiscence stuff so it’s dope.
At the end of the day, there’s a fine and unclear line between influence and imitation in hip-hop. In different situations, it varies on how much likeness is acceptable for someone to have. A lot of the time, when people copy it doesn’t even matter to people because they’re more popular. As an art, I feel people should be as creative as possible in this music, but I digress. What do you guys feel is an acceptable level of influence?
Oh yeah and speaking of chopped and screwed, peep this recently chopped not slopped track from AWKWORD called “Requiem”. His verse on this joint is tight as hell.