Musician David Bowie died after an 18-month battle with cancer, at the age of 69.
If it were not for David Bowie, one of the greatest Hip-Hop beefs may have turned out very different.
|Jay Z had to get at David Bowie before he dropped “Takeover”|
Back in late 2001, rappers Jay Z and Nas were engaged in a heated battle that produced two of Hip-Hop culture’s greatest songs: “The Takeover” by Jay Z and “Ether” by Nas.
Words and delivery especially matter in a battle, and Jay Z may not have fared so well against Nas, had it not been for David Bowie.
In one line on “The Takeover” Jay Z raps:
I know you missing Nas the (fammmme)/But along with celebrity comes about 70 shots to your frame, nigga/You a (lammmme)/You’s the fag model for Karl Kani, Esco ads
Jay had to clear that one word – fame (“fammmme)” with David Bowie, just because it sounded a little too close to the cadence on David Bowie’s 1975 hit single “Fame” according to Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua in the book “Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling.”
“Sometimes it could be a short saying, and the copyright owners will be like, ‘Okay, whatever.’ Like Jay might start a record off singing a little bit of Biggie first, and depending on how long that verse is determines whether the person who owns it wants to come in and say, ‘hey, we want a percentage of that,’ or, ‘don’t worry about that.’” – Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua.
That same year, in 2001, David Bowie seemed to recognize the importance of Hip-Hop music. Before Diddy was slanging vodka, he was in full production mode with his Bad Boy label. He had the chance to produce songs with David Bowie.
The pair collaborated on “Been Around the World” on Diddy’s No Way Out album and “American Dream” for the “Training Day” soundtrack.
“He [David Bowie] had this idea to do something that kind of followed the theme of the famous David Bowie track,” Diddy told MTV’s Shaheem Reid in 2001. “So when I listened to it, I was like ‘you know I am interested in doing it, but I just want to do something that’s now.’”
Many rappers had love for David Bowie as well.
Songs like “Under Pressure,” “Let’s Dance” and “Fame” have been reworked or sampled by the likes of Charli Baltimore, J. Dilla, Queen Latifah and others.
David Bowie’s music even propelled Vanilla Ice to stardom as the backdrop for his only hit record “Ice, Ice Baby,” which contained a riff from Queen and Bowie’s classic “Under Pressure.”
An outpouring of condolences on Twitter proves just how much Hip-Hop respected David Bowie. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell Williams, Fat Joe, G-Eazy, Swizz Beats, A$AP Ferg, Q-Tip and Vanilla Ice all tweeted their condolences.
David Bowie’s new album titled Blackstar was heavily influenced by Kendrick Lamar’s release To Pimp a Butterfly.
So it’s fitting that The Roots will headline a tribute concert to David Bowie featuring Cyndi Lauper, Perry Farrell and others at Carnegie Hall on May 31.