Instant Nostalgia

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

He Had to Be Startin Somethin

I've never considered myself a huge Michael Jackson fan (although it should speak volumes of the singer's influence that despite that last statement, I still had 10 or so of his songs on my iPod). I am and always have been, however, a huge, huge fan of hip-hop. It would take a much more knowledgeable music writer than myself to detail all the ways Michael Jackson influenced rap music.

But what has struck me the most in the past few days is how many DIRECT references there are to Michael Jackson in the songs I listen to the most - namely by Jay-Z and Kanye West. I'm not talking about the millions of ways Jackson's style subtly impacted these artists. I'm talking about them literally saying the words "Michael" or Michael Jackson" in their lyrics.

A sampling:

"I'm feelin like Mike at his baddest" - Kanye, while rapping on the Estelle track "American Boy"

"She got a light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson/Got a dark-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson" - Kanye, "Slow Jamz"

"They thought I was burnt up like Pepsi did Michael" - Kanye, "Through the Wire"

"She went to the doctor to get lipo with your money, she walk around looking like Michael with your money" - Kanye, "Gold Digger"

"And you would give me anything in this world, Michael Jackson leather and a glove, but didn't give me a curl" - Kanye, "Hey Mama"

"I'm Off the Wall, I'm like a young Michael Jackson, these other niggas is Tito" - Jay-Z, "Party Life"

"That's just the natural cycle, nobody wanna be like Michael" - Jay-Z, "Coming of Age"


Blogger Brian Libby said...

That's so true. I also remember, from a little further back in the day, a Tribe Called Quest song from 'The Low End Theory' that said, "Daddy, don't you know that Bobby Brown is just impin' like Michael?"

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