• Charlie Taylor

The Modern Era: Why Is It Cool To 'Bite' Now?


WAIT! Before you assume this is just another article that slates the "Rappers" today. You're half right... BUT. I am not going to go off, blind with rage, as it pertains to what is going on in the game today. As a 21 year old. I have the unique perspective of knowing who is hot at the moment while also taking account for the history of the art. Call it the best of both worlds if you like.

The subject of this article will not be about moaning or whining about the Modern Era. I do that enough on social media. Instead, we will be looking into how the world around us, gives artists the opportunity to gain popularity and significant monetary worth in the quickest amount of time. Now, like with most things in the world, there are pros and cons to this. The main two, funny enough, are two sides of the same coin.

Pro: A genuine talent can catch fire easier.

Con: A trash talent can catch fire easier.

Before I explain in detail. Let me tell you where this article originated from. I was watching an interview on "Sway in the Morning". The person visiting Sway, Heather B and Tracy G on that day was producer Zaytoven. If you have heard a Gucci Mane or a Migos track, odds are that Zaytoven produced the beats. With that said, you could call Zaytoven the creator of the Modern Day ATL rap sound. Which made me think. There are a lot of producers that beats sound eerily like Zaytoven. Which made me question... Why is "biting" fine all of a sudden?

Let us dive into a little historical context. Back in the day, when the internet was a mere idea in Tim Berners-Lee's mind, artists had to hustle to gain popularity. Constantly doing shows, getting exposure on TV and radio. They also needed originality, so when you heard them, you knew who they were in mere seconds. So, if there was anybody that tried to sound the same as a Kurtis Blow or Rakim or KRS-One, they would get ridiculed or worse and eventually fade out from the game without a peep. Similar to how in "The Get Down", after the NY Blackout, everybody had a crew with DJ decks, which created a dilution. But as time passed, the realest stood tall and the biters faded.

Now let's compare that to today. With the prominence of the Internet and the many, many platforms for artists to get their music out, the opportunity to "catch fire" has been heightened. Now, some artists, for example the people I have interviewed in the past 6 months, deserve to be heard and if they had the reach that some mainstream artists have, they would be set. But, as I said before, the platforms can also lend to average artists getting noticed.

Another side to this, is the fact that Hip-Hop itself is a money machine. Back in the day, there wasn't much money to go around. Now? ANYBODY can get a record deal, the only parameter is that they have to have a hit.

Along with ability to get music out faster with a higher chance of success & the money, we get to the duplication, or "Biting". As I said, there are always biters. But unlike the biters from back in the day where they can easily get called out, artists today can gain popularity so fast that we can't say "You're fake" because they already have clout. If the beat is hot, people don't care if it sounds the same as another artist. It's even worse for producers.

The culture has changed where there's so much money to go around, everybody can have a seat to the "Not-so-exclusive" table. And because most music industry execs care about the bottom line, they couldn't care less if their artist sounds like another one. As long as they get the almighty dollar.

And why should originators like Zaytoven care? They got the money, their status is solidified. Hey, he could look at some producers and say "I inspired them", as long as they don't breach copyright! It's a circle that won't end anytime soon. Same with the film industry. If it makes money, then by all means. Originality isn't top of the criterion anymore.

That is why biting is fine now, because the world (and people) around us don't mind it and encourage it. So blame Desiigner for being trash, sounding ATL even though he's from NY, but with the Internet creating fan-bases at rapid speeds and money being everything. All you need, is a fire beat.

#Music