5 Times You Missed Rappers’ Subtle Salutes to Each Other
You might miss these if you don’t listen closely enough
Since hip-hop’s inception, rappers have taken shots, waged deadly feuds, and formed lucrative partnerships. Most of these instances are known, oft-debated moments in the culture’s history.
It’s fair to say that over the decades, hip-hop journalism has covered more beef than unity. Controversy sells, and there’s money and traffic to be found in hyping a moment when a rapper takes a jab at another in an interview, freestyle, or the increasingly popular Instagram Live. Even if it never turns violent, such moments can affect an artist’s financial future — especially if fans feel like they didn’t “do well” in a beef. The right diss song can end a career or force the industry to take sides.
But hidden in hip-hop’s history and salacious news cycle are the times when rappers saluted each other in plain sight. There’s even a chance you missed some of these subtle salutes.
When Jay-Z saluted Snoop Dogg
Jay-Z begins his classic The Blueprint with “The Ruler’s Back.” The entire intro feels celebratory, from the horns to the drums to the way his ad libs urge listeners not to judge him too severely: “Just my thoughts, man.”
In 2001, Jay-Z wasn’t a billionaire. At the time, he was dealing with legal issues and entangled in a beef with Nas, widely considered to be one of the greatest emcees of all time. Even though The Blueprint was released on September 11, 2001, Jay-Z still managed to sell more than 400,000 units the first week. And he didn’t back down from the controversy around his 1999 run-in with Lance Rivera: “I’m too sexy for jail like I’m Right Said Fred/I’m not guilty, now give me back my bread!”
But most interestingly, Jay-Z salutes Snoop Dogg on the track in an incredible way. First and foremost, he pays homage while still stating that there are a lot of Jay-Z clones out there: “Well in these times, well at least to me/There’s a lot of rappers out there trying to sound like Jay-Z.” He wasn’t lying.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Hov adds: “I’ll help you out, here’s what you do… You’re going to need a wide lens ’cause that’s a very big shoe.”…