99 Problems -> Ice-T vs. Jay-Z

Ice-T began is rap career in 1980 and was signed to his first record company in 1987 when he released his debut album Rhyme Pays (the first hip-hop album to have an explicit content sticker). He then founded his own record label “Rhyme $yndicate Records” the following year. in 1993 he produced his own singles one of the most famous being “99 Problems”.

Some may notice that this song sounds very similar to one that was circulating around the popular music radio stations in 2003, “99 Problems” by Jay-Z.

I never knew that there was a previous version of this Jay-Z song and was surprised by the striking similarities between the two songs. Jay-Z took the main line from the song “I’ve got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one” straight from the Ice-T song. The beat is also very similar between the two songs, they both are a little slower than the typical songs of their time. The Jay-Z hit also reuses the high pitch accent noise in the background every few beats that was see in the original Ice-T version.

The more I realize that the songs of today’s music are sampled, the more frustrated I become. It makes me think about how unoriginal the music industry is. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the class that we usually glaze right over like it is no big deal. In a majority of the songs we listen to in class there are identifiable samples that he artists done even try to hide. It’s just amazing to me that these artists feel as though it is okay to take someone else’s beats and lyrics. Isn’t music supposed to be art, original art. I now wonder if there is a single song on today’s charts that does not use samples or words from other songs.

In the battle between Ice-T and Jay-Z, Ice T wins because well he made the song and deserves the credit. I think I’ve officially lost all respect for Jay-Z, not that he had much in the first place.



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