Many rapper’s reference the rhymes of other fellow lyricists. While some critics may write that artist off as lacking creativity, Jay-z is justifying his use of Notorious B.I.G.’s words in his songs.
Hov breaks down some of the lyrics used in ‘The City Is Mine,’ a single from his sophomore effort, ‘In My Lifetime, Vol. 1.’ In the song, he says, “A world with amnesia won’t forget your name,” a line he says was a “vow” to the late Brooklyn MC. “There was a vow in that song about BIG,” Jay-Z revealed. “It was my way of always keeping him fresh and keeping his music fresh on everyone’s mind. 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.” He goes on to reveal that he chooses to often times refer to Biggie’s catalog to keep his legacy alive. On his ‘What More Can I Say’ record, featured on 2003’s ‘The Black Album,’ he addresses recycling the raps of the deceased MC and why he chooses to do so. “I say a B.I.G. verse I’m only biggin’ up my brother/ Biggin’ up my borough/ I’m big enough to do it/ I’m that thorough,” he rhymes.