When Jay-Z first dropped 4:44, the song “Family Feud” took a backseat to songs “The Story of O.J.” and “4:44,” perhaps because of O.J’s recurrent mentions in the headlines and television series or maybe because of Jay’s vulnerability and direct response of the infidelity issues addressed in Bey’s confessional album, Lemonade.
The message of the song, however, couldn’t be ignored because of its relevance and as portrayed in the video for the single, it timeliness. “No one wins unless the family feuds.”
The video portrays the various effects of feuding families throughout the years beginning with apologies and confessions, continuing with the rewriting of the constitution, and ultimately ending with murder and political turmoil. The song expands on the topic, extending it into the music business, one where the older and younger generation have butted heads.
And old niggas, y’all stop actin’ brand new
Like 2Pac ain’t have a nose ring too, huh
Nobody wins when the family feuds
Whether its a critique of the use of accessories as mentioned by Hov or the slamming of today’s “mumble rap,” there has been a rift within the culture, formed because of the lack of understanding of the parties involved. Despite the role change has played in their livelihood, old heads like Pete Rock have continuously expressed their discontent with today’s rappers, tending to forget that evolution is inevitable and music will expand beyond the sounds they’ve grown up with or created. However, the young generation at times, seems to have a lack of respect for those who have paved the way for them, either by discounting their resonance with millennials and/or devaluing their contributions to music, which is often due to their lack of knowledge on their history. (Think Lil Yachty when he admitted to not being able to name 5 songs by legends Tupac or Biggie Smalls or Lonzo Ball’s refusal to listen to to Nas’ “outdated” music).
Then, on midnight on January 6, Bruno Mars released his video for “Finesse Remix” featuring Cardi B, a time that had given people enough time to digest “Family Feud” video, and a move that turned out to be more refreshing than most probably think it is.
Directed by Bruno, the video pays homage to the 90s show, In Living Color. Having mastered the ability to present timeless music that transcends age because of its ability to maintain a current, yet old school sound, the video provides a typical feel good experience, but its tribute (even if for another genre of creative art) is a step towards the right direction, an olive branch extended to those that came before us, a gesture that could possibly lessen the culture’s feuding families.
Bruno isn’t the first to pay respects to the works of an older generation. The video for Big Sean’s “Play No Games” featuring Chris Brown honored the popular comedic sitcom, Martin. Rapper Dave East’s video for “Phone Jumping” featuring Wiz Khalifa gave us Busta Rhymes “Gimme Some More” vibes. Beyonce dedicated the entire Halloween weekend to recreating some of Lil Kim’s looks, and many artists pay their respects through the sampling of music as in Tink’s “Million,” which sampled Aaliyah’s “One in a Million,” and Remy Ma’s “Wake Me Up” featuring Lil Kim, whose hit “Queen Bitch” was sampled in the song.
Imitation is the best form of flattery, but acknowledgment isn’t a bad substitute. Perhaps the evolution would be easier pill to swallow if the O.Gs realized that current day artists have done their homework on the past, and are genuinely appreciative of the steps taken and struggles endured to open the doors for the genre. Maybe they’d realize that the music from these two different generations are unworthy of competition, that they are a sign of the times and indicative of the mainstream’s current taste in music. Maybe they’d grasp that there are existing fans of each, and understand that both are amazing in their own right.
It is the basis of networking that gets us all through life. We show love and respect for the work of those in our desired or respective fields, hoping we can melt their hearts enough to be offered a life changing opportunity. Maybe it’s worth a try…
Check out this mash up of Finesse x Living Single that I put together a while back!