Last night I went to a lecture featuring Mad Skillz and Hank Shocklee of The Bomb Squad titled Sampling Black History. The panelist discussed sampling and gave the audience some live examples of classic Hip Hop samples as well as how sampling relates to the pop world. As a self-proclaimed Hip Hop enthusiast I pretty much knew and understood everything that was discussed involving sampling but the one thing that resonated with me was when Skillz stated that he believes that there is no such thing as an original idea. I immediately thought of Old Dirty Bastard’s famous quote, “There’s no father to my style.” In a lot of ways that can be true and sometimes when people have ideas the concept is only feasible in the future. There may be limited technology or more knowledge to be gained but all in all each generation produces what we deem as “geniuses” but not all of them become rich and/or famous. Some fall victim to life circumstances or never fulfill their full potential. As a human being we can only live so long once we’re born. We can’t physically see into the future but we can go back into time and listen to music and styles that came before us.
We’ve talked about Migos stealing flows early in their careers. We’ve discussed Iggy Azalea stealing Da Brat’s flow and we’ve also discussed the new young rappers stealing each other’s image and likeness. These young rappers are stealing O.D.B.’s style with all the shenanigans they do on social media the only difference is Dirt wasn’t doing it for likes or follows for his next project he was being himself with no coaxing. An idea is thought of as original when it has never been thought of or seen by the majority of the public. If someone had an idea in the fifties but wasn’t able to execute it that doesn’t mean that they had a bad idea and if someone in 2020 has the same idea that obviously makes it unoriginal. Popularity doesn’t equate to originality.
If no idea is original are the new Rappers wrong for just copying what works for another? If younger Rappers studied or were encouraged to study “the greats” would they have jacked their style instead? I remember when Guerilla Black and Shyne came on the scene and the impact they had with their respective voices. We can tell who new age Rappers have studied by the way that they Rap. We know who J. Cole studied. We know who Drake and Big Sean studied but who did XXXtentacion or Lil Xan study? I can’t tell. No their music isn’t for me and my age bracket but why would I let my children listen to their music? I would let my child listen to Kendrick Lamar and I might even let them listen to YG because I know he studied the culture and has a certain level of respect for the culture. I’d let my child listen to Biggie and 2Pac if I had any. (LOL) When the artist who they failed to study comes at the young rapper and simply says “I am your father” both parties should come together for a collaborative effort. Even if the song never comes out just allowing the two generations to link up and exchange energy could go a long way.
“Slacking on your macking cause raw’s what you lack.” – O.D.B. (Brooklyn Zoo)