free hit counters




“If you don’t bite, you don’t eat” Jay-Z featuring Onyx-The real black Rock

“And I agree that everybody is a biter, but if you xerox the style, then that’s infringing on my copy(right)” Phonte (Little Brother)-We Got Now

The Prelude-This lesson is inspired by the current beef with Li Kim and Nikki Minaj. I recently saw a video that was posted showing Li Kim giving examples of how Nikki Minaj took Li Kim’s whole style. I will give my disclaimer now-I’m not taking any shots at anyone, so don’t expect it. In reguards to the inspiration behind this lesson, I will not be picking sides. I also am not taking any subliminal shots at anyone. So, if you feel as though I’m talking about you-then your convicted of what you do.

The subject of “biting” has been debated since the birth of hip hop. This subject is like one of those age old riddles/questions “Which came first…the chicken or the egg?”. There was a time where biting was considered a sin and the punishment was being known as “wack” (which back then was considered a big thing). Originality was key at one time in hip hop. As we fast forward to hip hop in it’s current time-biting isn’t considered “so bad”. If one would turn on the radio-one could hear a lot of biting. Due to the age of hip hop, the concept of biting has shifted to “paying homage” or within production terms “sampling”. Many old heads/vets/serious artists of the game feel two different ways. One way is that “biting” is accepted if (and only if) the homage is paid. When styles or bars are taken with unpaid homage or acknowledgment of the artist or producer-it just seems disrespectful. On the other hand, some feel it as a honor just to be mentioned. This is my first lesson where I use two different bars. Within the lesson, I will shed light to both sides/systems (i have to be FAIR for both sides)- Jay-Z bar vs. Phonte’s bar. Let’s get ready to rumble! Let’s get into the bars.

THE BLUEPRINT SYSTEM-Jay-Z brings a great point with his “If you don’t bite, you don’t eat” bar. We are in the rap game for a ultimate goal…to make money. If you know a particular style or sound will generate revenue, then why not use it? This system is safe, but beneficial. The legends became legends following a blueprint…so why reinvent the wheel? KRS-One gave a hip hop “blueprint”, so is Jay-Z wrong for doing the same thing? KRS-One and Jay-Z are two of the most respected artist in hip hop by understanding and applying a blueprint in order to keep them successful. They both are still eating, so they are doing something right. KRS-One feels as though Jay-Z’s move to use the “blueprint” (as well as D.O.A. from his Robot track) shows unity and love. So, by using a blueprint laid out by some of the most respected artist-does it make you a biter? Is it a blueprint or a biteprint… or bitemark actually?

THE COPYRIGHT SYSTEM-Phonte gives a great view of the “copyright” system. This system acknowledges that biting exists, but should be limited. It allows artists to have a “grace period” of biting. Once a bird learns to fly, it can soar as high as it wants-without the help of the mother bird. That bird learns it’s own maneuvers and how high and low it can go on it’s own. There is no crutch after a certain time. This is the same way it should be in hip hop. Fans eventually see through your “xeroxing”. Synonyms for xeroxing are counterfeit, forge, duplicate and reproduce. These words just don’t and won’t sound right as labels for a artist! Every artists has to have a copyright. Without a copyright, any and everyone could take all of your hard earned money and credit from all your labor. Biting allows artists to collect something for nothing when they xerox your style and flows. If your not in the feild working, then you don’t eat!!!

I see both of these systems fighting on a everyday basis. The key thing to take away from the lesson is the fact that YOU AS A ARTIST hold the ability to CREATE. Whether you are “biting” or “being original”-you have the option. Biting will never go away, but it doesn’t always have to be negative. Show love to person who inspired you. There is enough money in this industry to where we all can have enough. Just remember to never bite off more than you can chew. Spread the soup.

Written By: C.H.I.C.A.N George



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.