Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" & Chris Brown's "Show Me": Tracing the '90s Dance Music Roots of Today's Hip Hop
If using Buzzfeed quizzes to procrastinate has taught me anything, it's that we're currently in the midst of a huge wave of '90s nostalgia. The social order has been completely upheaved and those who were not "real '90s kids" will be slain in the name of the Internet, for they are not the Chosen Generation. All hail the '90s! OK, it may not be that serious. But '90s pop culture touchstones have been unearthed and given new life. There's a new Sailor Moon , a Power Rangers film is in the works, and The Powerpuff Girls have been given a reboot. And this trend isn't just limited to the '90s shows you watched as a kid. '90s music is having a huge resurgence, most visibly in mainstream rap and R&B.
Some references are more visible than others, but whether you remember the song or not, many of the songs you hear on hip hop radio stations have been taking wholesale from the dance songs of the '90s. Not just samples, but entire lyrics are lifted from some of the great house, eurodance, hip hop, and Miami bass music from the decade. It's a trend that will either offend your artistic ethics or give you some new songs to add to your playlist, but either way, once you listen to these songs, it's hard to deny the similarities.
Nicki Minaj "Anaconda" vs. Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back"
This one is pretty obvious, seeing as most people in the United States can recite at least half of the lyrics of "Baby Got Back" from memory. It's a song that still hasn't left our collective cultural conscience. And Nicki Minaj isn't exactly trying to hide the comparison; in fact, you could probably argue that "Anaconda" is simply a re-working of the original from a woman's point of view. And of course, there's the similarities in the two videos:
Kid Ink feat. Chris Brown "Show Me" vs. Robin S. "Show Me Love"
Another reason that makes it hard to like Chris Brown: Not only does this song simply use a slowed-down version of the echoing bass in "Show Me Love," but it takes 2/3 of the chorus. And unlike "Anaconda," "Show Me" isn't a reworking of a similar theme, it's just another song about sex. Really, the title sums it up: they took the "Love" out of "Show Me Love."
Jeremih "Don't Tell Em" vs. Snap! "Rhythm is a Dancer"
It's hard to tell where this one lies between homage or rip-off, but it's not hard to hear where the influences come from once you hear the original song. Of course, the problem is that "Rhythm is a Dancer" came out in 1992, the year when most of the audience for "Don't Tell Em" was born, so they probably haven't heard it. But it's all in "Don't Tell Em": not only does the song use a pitched-up and slowed-down version of the original's instrumental, it also uses the same melody and the song's title in its chorus.
Ciara "Body Party" vs. Ghost Town DJs "My Boo"
If your memory wasn't already triggered by hearing the opening bars of "My Boo" in the background, you need to do your homework. Not only does the Ciara and Future collaboration use the exact same opening notes, it also uses the same melody and lyrics from "My Boo"'s opening line for its bridge: "Boy you should know that..." But whether you think its artistic thrifting does the song a disservice or not, there's no denying that using samples from "My Boo" only makes "Body Party" better.