As they say, take from the best and make it your own, which, is exactly what Jay-Z has done over the years. Often quoting the late rapper, The Notorious B.I.G. in several of his own rhymes, Jay-Z recently opened up about B.I.G.’s influence and explained that he quotes the legendary emcee to inspire himself and honor the memory of B.I.G.
“In ‘The City Is Mine,’ I said, “This way a world with amnesia won’t forget your name.” There was a vow in that song about Big. So doing that was my way of always keeping him fresh and keeping his music fresh on everyone’s mind,” said Hov in a recent video interview with Roc4Life. “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.”
Jay-Z then zooms in on his 2003 song, “What More Can I Say,” reciting his ode to his “brother (“I say a Big verse, I’m only bigging up my brother”) and explaining, like in the song, that his skill is strong enough that he doesn’t need to quote anyone else to write a song, he simply does it show love for those who’ve inspired him.
“That sums the whole thing up. Be comfortable with yourself and your ability,” explained Jay-Z. “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.” –nicholas robinson