Grammy-winning rapper Jay-Z has come forward to defend his usage of the late Notorious B.I.G.‘s wordplay in songs and clarifies he is not biting but paying homage to the iconic emcee.
Referencing a track off his 1997 album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, Jay said he made a promise to keep B.I.G.’s legacy alive.
“In ‘City Is Mine,’ I said, ‘This way a world with amnesia won’t forget your name,'” Jay explained in an interview referencing his rhyme to the late B.I.G. “There was a vow in that song about B.I.G. So doing that was my way of always keeping him fresh and keeping his music fresh on everyone’s mind. So I’m inspired by music and I’m a fan and a historian. I study music and different emotions and things like that. So, if I’m inspired by it, I just use it. It’s not a crutch for me. I can write a song without using anyone’s lyric at all.” (Rocawear)
Young Hov also said he has shown his rap skills prove biting is not necessary.
“Be comfortable with yourself and your ability,” Hov added. “You don’t have that insecurity when people say, ‘Oh he stealing homeboy’s lyrics, he can’t write a rap.’ We can sit down next to anybody and write two verses. They could write and I could sit up there and come with a verse and we can see who comes up with a better verse any day.” (Rocawear)
On Jay’s “What More Can I Say” Black Album single, he also defended using B.I.G.’s bars.
“I’m not a biter, I’m a writer for myself and others/I say a B.I.G. verse, I’m only “Bigging” up my brother/Bigging up my borough — I’m big enough to do it/I’m that thorough, plus I know my own flow is foolish.” (“What More Can I Say”)
In 2006, Dipset’s Cam’ron called out Jay for biting B.I.G.’s lyrics.
“Backup, this one ain’t the only one with big wallets/Got it, my sh*ts brollic, dot it/But your publishing should go to Ms. Wallace/Honest. Stealing Big sh*t, he made 2 albums, you wilding” (“You Gotta Love It”)
Check out Jay-Z’s interview below: