Enough is enough! As hip-hop fans, its natural to be nostalgic about the past and honor the legends that made us love the music to begin with. But there is a fine line between paying homage and copying someone's style. If we were in school, this would be called plagiarism; on the street, they'd call it swagger jacking. Since when did this become okay?
I know that it is often said that art imitates life or life imitates art but since when did hip-hop become about rappers imitating other rappers. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery you are probably saying, but who is this type of imitation flattering? Do you think Tupac would be slapping his knee and holding back giggles upon hearing "Tupac Back"? Did Nas call Elzhi and congratulate him for doing exactly what he did 18 years prior? This is all speculation, but my vote on both accounts is no.
I believe as fans of music and partakers of life, what we look forward to the most is the unknown; that new thing that will make us say wow. I believe this is in part because as people we like to challenge ourselves not to do what's already been done, but to see what else is possible. This is why we keep sending people to the moon. Not to do the same exploration as the Apollo 11, but to expand on their idea creating something more magical than before. I believe this is possible in hip-hop once we stop resting on our previous accomplishments. If we take ownership of our talent, follow our own destiny and stop trying to be who we are not, I believe progress is more than possible. I believe, we'll make the best music the world has ever heard. I think Tupac, Biggie, Mac Dre, Nas and others who built upon the foundations of hip-hop did just that and would be proud to see us doing the same.