A Deep Dive Into Rappers Using Other Rappers’ Flows
On J. Cole‘s 2014 track “Fire Squad,” he raps, “History repeats itself and that’s just how it goes/Same way that these rappers always bite each other’s flows.” There is no cap in that. Being original in music is far more imaginary than realistic. Kanye West cosigned that statement as well in a film called The Art of 16 Bars, where he says that, “Hip-hop is based off biting, period. Even though they say it’s biting because we take other old people’s music and jack it.”
Someone’s flow cannot be copyrighted, giving artists free reign to use whoever’s cadence they want. Some rappers have done this to pay homage, as heard on 2 Chainz‘s “Used 2” where he shows love to Juvenile and the angelic twerk anthem “Back That Azz Up.” But there are other times where flow robbery is met with harsh criticism for its thievery, as exemplified on Drake’s “KMT” which leaned on the same flow as XXXTentacion’s “Look At Me.”
When it doesn’t come in the form of perceived disrespect, biting a notable flow can resurface a nostalgic feeling and take you back to a time in rap history where you heard a song or artist for the first time. More than anyone else, we’ve peeped this happen when it comes to Ma$e’s classic suave flow heard in songs like “Move to L.A. and “Worst Behavior,” which you’ll see later on this list.
So today, XXL takes a look back at 15 times in the past decade where rappers have bitten other rappers’ flows and the aftermath of doing so.