Lupe Fiasco’s always working his way under someone’s skin. Today, his song “Around My Way” made its way around the Internuts and actually got a warm reception from everyone – both old fans and Lasers. Everyone except Pete Rock.
The legendary producer took to Twitter to air his grievances with Lupe’s decision to use the same sample found on The Chocolate Boy Wonder’s first major hit, “T.R.O.Y.” Pete called Lupe’s version “unoriginal” and indicated that he wasn’t “flattered @ all. Dat shit is wack, and the producer should be ashamed of his fuckin self. Smh.” 9th Wonder seemed to agree that a “code” had been violated because the newer track’s producer didn’t do anything but slightly chop the sample Pete made famous and referred to Lupester’s version as a “bite,” which was a once capital offense in rap before the Rick Ross era and deliberately jacking someone’s steez became permissible.
So where exactly is the line crossed from “paying homage” to straight jacking someone else’s material? Pete went on to share that Tom Scott found the reworked version of “Today” to be agreeable, but we’ll assume Scott also got a nice royalty check to assuage any ill feelings he may have initially had. To Lupe’s credit, he’s often paid respect to artists who influenced him – ranging from Spice 1 to UGK (he was just on “Get Throwed 2012”) – and, in my opinion, those acknowledgments are what keep Hip-Hop’s oral tradition alive. Perhaps Lupe should’ve given Pete a head’s up regarding the track. A simple phone call maybe. Likewise, Pete could’ve picked up the horn as well and gone through the proper channels or mutual friends to contact Lupe and voice his displeasure, instead of lashing out via Twitter.
In the end, it’s clear Lupe can’t win. He forgets a Tribe lyric and gets clobbered for it. He tries to recreate a classic record and pisses off the producer.
For comparison purposes, listen to Lupe’s, Pete & C.L.’s and then Tom Scott and The California Dreamers “Today” (the sample appears at: 1:38).