All Articles Tagged "copycat"
It must be hard being a famous musician in the public eye. When you say you’re inspired by certain musicians, people (sometimes, THAT musician too), like to say you’re trying to be like them. When you don’t pay “homage” to these people, then fans and musicians fading out of the limelight like to claim you stole their style completely. You can’t win for trying! Over the years, there have been many folks who have been called out for having a style similar to someone else, some we can understand, others we think are getting unnecessary shade. We thought we’d compile these folks and figure out who is killing it on their own, and who is a clone.
R. Kelly and Aaron Hall
If you ask some people, Aaron Hall put an imaginary patent on the permission to rock a bald head, sunglasses and and sing at a ridiculously loud but melodic level. Hall had that look and sound on lock during the early ’90s, but some say R. Kelly came through and stole it, and even swiped his singing style. I can’t lie, there are some songs from the early days of the R-ruh’s career that make me think if I closed my eyes, I might be hearing Aaron Hall (“She’s Got That Vibe” anyone?), but as Kellz became more popular and Hall started to slowly fade out of the music scene to try his hand at being a dog whisperer…his style and music continuously changed (he still talked about sex constantly, but you know what I mean…). Either way though, Hall isn’t sweating it, because while Kelly may have stolen his style, he says, the singer can’t touch his swag:
“I know a lot of people out there are saying that R. Kelly stole my style. But remember he can’t touch my swagger. I got that old school swag, that 80′s swag and ain’t nobody touching that.”
I can remember so vividly being about four or five years old and having a favorite cousin, Shaniqua (Yes, I have a cousin named Shaniqua). Oh, how I loved Shaniqua. I followed her everywhere! Everything that she did, I did. If she laughed a certain way, I laughed that certain way. When she came home from kindergarten learning to read, I was determined to learn how to read, too. I used to be thrilled on holidays like Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day when our grandmother would go out and buy us matching dresses for church. I mean, I wanted to be just like her when I “grew up,” which was ridiculously hilarious and ironic because we were only two years apart. As time progressed, I matured and developed my own identity.
While the whole copycat syndrome is very natural and normal among small children as they begin to develop their own identities, what I find disturbing is how prevalent it is among adults. There is a shockingly large amount of grown women who must have never properly transitioned from the whole copycat phase as children and are still walking around imitating one another to this day. Yes, they do exist and you probably know a few of them personally. You know the ones who you hate to go shopping with because the entire time that you are browsing the store they’re behind you picking up, examining, and purchasing everything you pick up in the store? Yeah, them. They have to get some kind of variation of what you picked up, don’t they? Or, how about the ones who have no shame and will show up to work with the same exact dress or shoes you wore last week?
Having a copycat can be flattering and even somewhat amusing, at first. However, after awhile, it becomes outright annoying. I mean honestly, what normally adjusted woman imitates another woman constantly? There has to be some sort of imbalance there. I used to think that the only real issue with having a copycat was the fact that it was annoying, however, I am beginning to feel a little differently about that. If you can’t even trust her enough to discuss future plans out of fear that she may run out and go do it first, you probably don’t need her around. What is the point in having a “friend” around who is constantly studying and looking to imitate you? After awhile you begin to question why. Is she looking to replace you? Does she want want your life? Something about that situation is plain old wrong and a bit creepy. While there is no way that she can replace you in the eyes of the people in your life because you are one of a kind, she can certainly try, which could potentially cause unnecessary heartache and grief for you if she is ruthless enough. But, then the question arises, how do you handle such a childish situation like an adult? You can’t deal with it as you would in preschool by pushing her and yelling “Stop doing everything that I do!” or you will look just as crazy as she does.
I remember my mom lecturing me about a copycat I once had, whom she’d nicknamed “Single Black Female.” In the process she said to me, “If someone wants to try to emulate you, you can’t really stop them, but you’d be a fool to sit around and pass them the playbook.” What she meant by that is you can’t control someone else’s actions, but you can control the access and insight that you grant them into your life. Feed her with a long-handled spoon. In simple terms, put some distance there. If you value this woman as a friend, don’t go starting a fight, just gracefully and gradually back off. If she’s someone new working your last nerve, keep her at an arm’s length or move on entirely. In due time you’ll turn around and she’ll be off imitating someone else.
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by Cortney Cleveland
2012 is poised to be the year of the female rapper. Blame Nicki Minaj. The rapper went platinum a month after her debut album release and became the first artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Factor in several high-profile endorsement deals and a coveted spot on the Super Bowl Halftime Show, all within a year of achieving mainstream success, and it’s easy to see why music executives are looking for the next Minaj.
Blogs are on the bandwagon too, promoting female rap artists as they look for the next big thing. Harlem native Azealia Banks made news when she recently signed to Universal Music Group. She already has fans in high places. Kanye West calls her the future of music and Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga’s stylist and creative director of fashion brand Mugler, used her as the soundtrack to his runway show. Rumors are swirling that Australian born Iggy Azalea may be close to signing a deal with Def Jam. She has been building her fan base online with the release of her “Ignorant Art” mixtape and stylish music videos. These ladies are just the tip of the iceberg. Scores of female emcees are releasing mixtapes and YouTube videos. Hip hop has gone from boys club to co-ed in less than 12 months.
The timing is no coincidence. Sure, women were putting out material before Nicki’s ascent; but, support from music media and business is only coming now because a successful business model is at the forefront of pop culture. Copycats may be taboo on the playground, but it is common practice in business. Barring patent or trademark infringement, once a good concept enters the public space, copycats are destined to follow.
This isn’t restricted to the entertainment industry. Take a look at the tech startup scene, currently one of the most competitive business sectors. When daily deal site Groupon filed for initial public offering, over 33 rival companies sprouted up in Boston alone. The virtual pin board site, Pinterest, barely started receiving accolades before a German-based competitor called Pinspire started poaching its users.
The reason is simple – smart businesspeople tend to be smart copycats, choosing to innovate and improve upon a successful business model rather than create a new one. Being the first to market can be a treacherous position. There are no one else’s mistakes to learn from. A copycat strategy allows a business to observe success stories and borrow best practices to apply to their business.