Thursday, December 2, 2010

Note to Just Blaze: No Idea's Original

One of my biggest pet peeves with Hiphop music today is its serious lack of creativity.

Many times this dearth rears its ugly head in the form of musical output from rap music producers.

Some of today's best [and worst] producers routinely "flip" old beats, trying to pass off new versions of old songs as their own original creations.

And as much as I respect Just Blaze for his contributions to my favorite genre of music, I have an equal amount of disdain for the way presents his music as his own compositions when the true inspiration is from a rap record years earlier.

Then we have the youth -- who has never been widely exposed to some of Hiphop's older songs because of the perennial disrespect for the culture's pioneers-- who go ahead and crown certain folks the best at their craft without ever taking the past into consideration.

Case and point: Saigon's newest song, "Get Busy."

The beat samples the melody from Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. video game, and the drums knock hard and the lyrics are nice too. However, a closer listen from a refined, learned ear reveals that the track is nothing but a sped up reprisal of the Coco Brovaz's [then-groundbreaking] song Super Brooklyn, released in 2000.

It was just a few weeks earlier that rapper Jay Electronica (who is a frequent musical collaborator of Just Blaze) released his new song with Jay-Z called The Shiny Suit Theory, which also is nothing but a slightly altered version of Pete Rock & CL Smooth's I Got a Love released 15 years earlier.

A deeper look into Just Blaze's production credits shows these are not his only jacking-for-beats offenses.

He shamelessly bites and simultaneously bastardizes Public Enemy's 1991 hit Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos for rapper Game's 2006 song Remedy.

He took the same production route for Beanie Sigel's 2001 song So What Cha Sayin, which is identical in music AND name alike to EPMD's classic released in 1991.

Then there's Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement, a track that is made up entirely from a loop of an interlude from OC's timeless debut album, Word...Life:

This last example, however obscure, is still considered a major bite because of the context in which its presented -- as his own. Unlike The Kid Daytona, who recently released an album made up of full length songs inspired by random interludes from rap albums over the years, Just Blaze is NOT paying homage to the producers who came before him.

Does any of this take away from Just Blaze's talent? Of course not. He is still the man responsible for some of rap's best beats over the past decade, including Freeway's What We Do, Cam'Ron's Oh Boy, and Joe Budden's Pump It Up, which are all instant classics.

But it certainly does water down the overall product enough to leave Just Blaze out of the larger debate about who the best Hiphop producer (current and of all time) is.

No comments: