As promised, I'm posting the "I'm a Biter Not a Writer"/"Fuck you Jay-Z, Love Cam'Ron" track today.
Nas once said of Jay-Z, "How Many of Biggie's rhymes gonna come out yo' fat lips?" Apparently, a dj for XM Radio decided to find out and put out a track about a year and a half ago that contained all of the rhymes that Biggie originally said (along with some other rappers), and then followed it up with Jay-Z using them in his own songs.
This track got a fair amount of attention when it was put in rotation on XM and has recently been making the rounds again all over these here internets after Cam'ron added some more lines to the track and put his own narration over the whole thing.
Last year when I discussed this whole biting thing with Easy Rider, I basically agreed with Jigga's summary of the situation:
I'm not a biter I'm a writer for myself and others
I say a B.I.G. verse I'm only biggin' up my brother, biggin' up my boro
I'm big enough to do it, I'm that thorough
Plus i know my own flow is foolish
For the most part, even after hearing Cam's extended version, I still agree with that. I think most of the problem comes from the fact that Jay-Z doesn't write his rhymes ahead of time. He goes into the booth and spits out lines from the top of his head. I'm sure he has general themes in mind when he starts rapping over a beat, otherwise his albums would just sound like extended freestyles. But if you're not writing stuff out ahead of time, its not hard to imagine yourself slipping in rhymes from other rappers that you listen to, if just subconsciously. I don't think this makes him a biter, I think its just a weakness inherent in the process that he uses to put songs together.
The track insinuates that Jay is making some Jayson Blair type moves. It doesn't seem to me that Jay is trying to push these rhymes out there as his own. Whenever I hear the Big Daddy Kane and Biggie lines used on Jay-Z's albums, its obvious to me he's using their lines because he's using the lines that everyone raps along with whenever they hear the original songs on the radio. I mean, seriously, one of the examples used in this is from the chorus of Big Poppa. Obviously that's a tribute.
The case is a little less clear for the UGK lines. Most people, except for hard core houstonsoreal-type heads, would not be able to pick up on a UGK line being used by Jay-Z. So its possible that was a case of biting, but the fact that he went on to have one of his biggest singles with UGK suggest that it was just another tribute to a couple rappers he's down with.
Ultimately you'll have to decide for yourself. I don't expect that Jay will respond to this track just because Cam'ron rereleased it.
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