Anyone still stuck in the ’90s narrative of East Coast vs. West Coast in hip hop needs to listen the post-regional rap of “I Feel Like Pac, I Feel Like Biggie,” DJ Khaled’s new single featuring Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz and T.I. with a special cameo by Diddy. The Khaled-curated track is the usual bevy of who’s who in the hip-hop world. The song, in advance of Khaled’s forthcoming record Suffering from Success, premiered yesterday on Hot 97.
“I feel like Pac,” Swizz Beatz raps on the song’s chorus. “I feel like Biggie/I’m feelin’ like these hatin’ n***as waitin’ to kill me.”
The song contains themes shared by the late Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.: paranoia, cutthroat competition and a street-life past being brought into the music industry, among others. But “I Feel Like Pac, I Feel Like Biggie” is also a stylistic exercise, filled with rappers who entered the industry after Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.’s murders, referencing their music reverently.
But not everyone from their hip-hop heyday is happy about it.
“[They] sold you out, B.I.G.,” former Notorious B.I.G. sidekick and Diddy protege Ma$e said on his Instragram account. “I hate the way your legacy has been watered down… Let him rest.”
It’s been a point of contention in the hip-hop world of how much tribute, some of it opportunistic, should be given to the long-deceased Biggie and Tupac more than 15 years after their murders. Even Diddy, who appears on and seems to endorse “I Feel Like Pac, I Feel Like Biggie,” gives some strident words in the closing moments of the song.
“How you gon’ compare yourself to greatness,” Diddy shouts, “if you ain’t ready to be great, man?”
Suffering from Success is suffering from success itself, according to DJ Khaled, getting pushed back on the release calendar from September 24 to October 22.
“I moved the date back because it got greater,” Khaled said in a video he released with his company We the Best Music Group. “I’m workin’ on the greatest masterpiece ever.”
— Paul de Revere, Radio.com