Can you believe one of the most influential and karaoke'd hip-hop songs in the past ten years borrowed an entire verse from another song? I actually had no idea about this lil' sample.
Turns out Jay-Z's "99 Problems" samples Bun-B's verse off UGK's "Touched". Here's the "99 Problems" version:
Now once upon a time, not too long ago / A n**ga like myself had to strong arm a h*e / This is not a h*e in the sense of having a p**sy / But a p**sy havin' no goddamn sense, try and push me / I try to ignore him, talk to the Lord...
And now, "Touched":
Now once upon a time, not too long ago / A n**ga like myself had to strong arm a h*e / This is not a h*e in the sense of having a p**sy / But a p**sy havin' no goddamn sense, try and push me / He used to hold his d**k, how he wanna be in my shoes...
It's tough to tell whether this borrowing is a "bite" or a "shout-out." I mean, when I researched this sample, hardly anything but forums came up in which mixed reviews were rife. The majority of people were dissing Hova for the sampled verse, while one user by the name of RUKUS stated:
"Man...y'all...love to reach...I'm from the south and everyone knows that's from UGK...it's quite obvious...Jay has a good relationship with UGK and it's obvious that he was incorporating that into his flow... it's not a bite...he'd not trying to pull it off like it's original...he's expecting hiphop heads to know where he's coming from.."
RUKUS brings up a totally valid point. Sometimes musicians sample lyrics as a nod to another musician, genre or movement. I mean, Jay-Z has stated numerous times he's a big UGK fan and they were even featured on his song, "Big Pimpin'" so I would give this lyrics sample a green light.
But... what about when it's a straight-up lyrics robbery? In other words, when it comes to lyrics, where do we draw the line between homage and heist? Lemme know what you think!