Jay-Z has quoted Notorious B.I.G.‘s lyrics several times in his music, weaving his rhymes into his own verses. In an interview with Roc4Life, Hov explains that his quoting B.I.G. is to keep his name alive and inspire his raps.
“There was a vow in that song about Big. So doing that was my way of always keeping him fresh and keeping his music fresh on everyone’s mind,” he said. “So I’m inspired by music and I’m a fan and a historian. I study music and different emotions and things like that. So, if I’m inspired by it, I just use it. It’s not a crutch for me. I can write a song without using anyone’s lyric at all.”
He goes on to quote his line on “What More Can I Say,” where he raps, “I say a Big verse, I’m only bigging up my brother.” He justifies his approach by explaining that he doesn’t need to prove he can write raps, as his abilities show for it.
“That sums the whole thing up. Be comfortable with yourself and your ability. You don’t have that insecurity when people say, ‘Oh he stealing homeboy’s lyrics, he can’t write a rap.’ We can sit down next to anybody and write two verses. They could write and I could sit up there and come with a verse and we can see who comes up with a better verse any day.”