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Hip Hop’s Tradition of Paying Homage

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Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj

From Lil’ Kim to rapper Cassidy, Hip Hop elders are feeling extremely unappreciated by those following their footsteps. There is a cultural disconnect arising between the youth and the elders concerning how to extend gratitude; paying homage to those that walked so the youth could run. In a live stream with Hip Hop Uncensored’s O-God and Sam Ant, Cassidy spoke in a manner about Tory Lanez that is strikingly similar to the ways in which Lil’ Kim has spoken on Nicki Minaj in the past. Are the elders jealous or is this righteous indignation? Are they disgruntled or have they truly been dishonored? Indeed Nicki Minaj lived to see the day wherein she would sound a lot like Lil’ Kim concerning rapper Cardi B.

 

Hip Hop Traditions

The hit single  Get No Better rapper Cassidy mentioned Lanez rapping on his beats and using signature Cassidy-isms. He noted that this was ok for someone like Lil’ Kim to do with the late Biggie Smalls, considering that she has paid humble homage to him throughout her career. Cassidy noted that he has never so much as broken bread with Lanez for him to feel so comfortable in doing so and that the audacity is highly offensive.

 

Although Nicki Minaj has been on the record paying homage to Lil’ Kim, a rift emerged between them when the Superbase rapper was also recorded saying she intends to be the greatest by dethroning the greatest, calling out Lil’ Kim by name. Perhaps this was not the attitude most conducive to a unified front among Hip Hop’s women, but what should be water under the bridge has become an irreconcilable difference.  Lil’ Kim fired back with diss tracks and a public request to do a Verzuz battle with the Trinidadian Bronx rapper. This could serve to reintroduce Lil’ Kim to a younger audience and expose that in reality, Nicki Minaj may have the pink print, but Lil’ Kim is the Pink Print: as in, every female rapper that makes it has some form of Lil Kim’s essence. Lil’s Kim interrupted a pattern and set a standard that has not changed since. She revolutionized female Hip Hop and marks a historical pivot in the genre’s history.

Paying Homage

Both rifts could have been avoided if there was a standardized way of paying homage, a ritual of sorts, that newcomers extend to the artists that came before them. Adding to this is the insta-cultural aspect among the youth. For Gen Z, a song is old in a few months instead of a few years. Older millennials and Gen X allowed the men and women of rap to age into their 30s and 40s without calling them old and washed back in the ’90s. Today, based on ageism alone, rappers like Cassidy are verbally assaulted as “washed up” when in reality it’s not the case. Cassidy was and still is a prolific lyricist whose style is imitated and duplicated by young rappers today. Eminem and Jay-z are well into their 40s yet hardly anyone speaks of them in the same manner, perhaps due to their having made a choice to remain relevant. The point is: rappers should not have to remain relevant to retain respect. This is the culture. Suffices to say that this is not an indictment on the youth, Cassidy was quoted as having said that every generation has those that remember and those that forget. Plagiarism abounds without reminders of the originators.

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