Written by Nick Naej
Edited by Jenkin Au
Photography by Jenkin Au
Biting is definitely something that’s always talked about. Back then, someone was called a copy cat or a fraud and today, you’re called a biter. It will always happen in every single generation: a younger kid learning the ropes will bite, knowingly or unknowingly, moves or styles or concepts from the older generation. As he or she grows up, they learn about biting and they will attempt to change up their game to make sure that they aren’t called out for it, and if they are, they have enough to say about how different it is from the original. But what really constitutes “ethical” biting? That means you’re taking something, flipping it completely, and making it your own, something that hip-hop as a whole is kind of based off of. However, there still are many people that only make incremental changes to the overall concept – that doesn’t cut it in many ways.
A concept created by an individual that is visibly, and even conceptually, similar is doing no one any favours. Incremental changes do not justify originality because all that the person did was change up maybe one aspect of the overall project. If you take away a drop of water from a full cup, is it still full? What about a sip from that cup? What you need to be thinking isn’t about how you change the physical composition of the water, but you should be thinking about changing the water or the cup entirely. The lack of originality in the world is something that troubles me. If that person was not exposed to the original, that could be acceptable because the world is just far too vast to be accountable to all existing content. However, when the original is directly in their reach and exposed to them, it is at this point that their greatness is suspected.
The notion of simply creating something better is never something that will illuminate a person in the crowd. If they can do it better, it is only a matter of time until someone else decides to do it even better than they did. There is no sustainability in your arsenal and you will fall behind the moment you decide to sleep in for the day.
In the world, there are things that are meant to be copied and copied relentlessly. These are usually the free things or the commodities in life. They are the promo videos, foundation moves, training methods, basic designs, or basic concepts. However, nothing in the general realm of the arts falls in the commodities section and if and when it does, then the classification of arts is in question as well. Granted, there are commercial artists and designers designing commodities and things that serve a specific and direct purpose. I feel that these are fundamentally different from what I have been writing about.
When someone creates something, there needs to be that extra power that holds people’s attention and that special feature that makes them come back. What good is a slightly better layout? What good is a slightly faster car? The death of your creation will be caused by your own hand and your own inability to create.