Is Chamillionaire Ripping Off Seazon?
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I’m going to start this post in true MC Paul Barman fashion by saying I think Chamillionaire and Seazon are both fantastic (five points to whoever can name the song I just referenced). I have nothing against either artist and, in fact, I actually enjoy both of their work. I couldn’t help but notice, however, that Chamillionaire’s video for his new song “Evening News” bears more than a few striking resemblances to Seazon’s award winning “The Reporter,” which came out way back in February. I spoke with Seazon about the similarities the other day and he told me that the reaction from Chamillionaire was simply “great minds think alike.” Check out the two videos side by side and judge for yourself. Seazon – The Reporter Chamillionaire – Evening News The concept for the songs is quite similar, but I’ve heard a lot of songs recently that have been laid out like the news so that’s not the idea jacking I want to focus on. The videos are the issue, especially the make up jobs done to each MC, which are so alike it can’t simply be coincidence. Some people may feel that since Seazon is from Canada that maybe Chamillionaire never saw his clip until later, but that argument doesn’t hold a lot of weight since not only does Chamillionaire travel, and “The Reporter” was on Much Music, which is Canada’s biggest music video network, but as of Seazon’s Artist of the Week feature on this site in May his video had already won a Music Nation competition and was being entered in quite a few others. With that in mind, any notion that either Chamillionaire, or his video’s director, was happily ignorant of the fact that “The Reporter” was out there seems fairly far fetched. Obviously both songs lend themselves to such a video, but once Seazon had done his, and done it so well, shouldn’t someone in Chamillionaire’s camp have thought to try something different? Did the newsman in his video have to look almost exactly the same as the one from Seazon’s? Why not go with a black reporter to at least make it look a little bit different and throw in an added political element? OK, so those are my thoughts on the Chamillionaire / Seazon video debate, but what does everybody else think? Is this all a coincidence or was there some idea jacking involved?
posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:53 AM
Are you serious? You've watched Chappelle's Show right? Both of them clearly ripped the idea from Chappelle's "Reporter" skits where Dave makes himself up as a white man and if either says otherwise they lying. If that's the basis of your argument then it's deaded there. Other than that it's just two similar songs with similar videos, but given the song that video choice is natural. And I think Cham isn't THAT up on hip-hop to make it a guarantee he'd seen the Seazon video. I consider myself up on hip-hop and I hadn't seen or heard of the guy and I don't have to worry about my career, touring, and producing an album.
As much as I like Dave Chappelle, he didn't come up with the "black guy dressed a white reporter" idea, either. What I'm saying is the entire concept for Chamillionaire's video, right down to the makeup job, is a rip off of Seazon's and whether or not you feel Chamillionaire is that up on his Hip-Hop (he is, btw), his director damn sure knows what else is going on in the industry.
BTW - The Seazon video was serviced to every major media outlet. Heck, even college radio recieved copies of the DVD with the single. It wasn't hard to find. BTW II - Seazon is not only an MC but was the host of Rap City on MuchMusic for over a year. He's a very recognizable figure to A LOT of MCs.
Dave may not have come up with the idea but he made it famous, and given the comedy in Seazon's video I'd say he ripped the concept from Dave more than anything.
But I don't see how you can say that you don't feel that the song was jacked but you feel the video was jacked. It's either all or nothing. I mean the natural progression if you make a song following the evening news is to make a video mimicking the evening news. The make up jobs are different to the point Chamillionaire seems to have a mask where Seazon has more of the powder make from the Chappelle show. Chamillionaire also avoids changing his voice for the characters like Seazon does and there's virtually no comedy or making fun of the white reporter in the Cham video until the very end. And I really don't buy the "Seazon" is recognizable argument. Point blank - canada is not part of the music industry. Neither is any other country outside of the United States when it comes to rap. I'm not saying this is fair or right, but big time emcees in the United States don't care about what s going on in Canada. The most talented Canadian acts have never sold well here and there aren't very many major (platinum plus) artists doing collabos with Canadian emcees. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Cham or his director had no clue what Seazon was doing. Being up on Hip-Hop usually doesn't include anything out of the U.S. and God knows there's so much being produced here you can barely keep up with the American stuff. Anyone can service their music to college radio and beyond, doesn't mean people listen to it or pay attention to it. I'm not saying that there's no chance that Chamillionaire and his director could have both said - "Hey that video is cool and no one's seen it let's copy it" - but- 1. Chamillionaire is too talented to need to copy anyone. 2. The similarities lean more towards coincidence given the similar songs. 3. I've met Chamillionaire's lawyer and the man would not let Cham do something stupid that could potentially open him up to legal liability. Basically,saying someone bit somebody else's stuff is a serious matter and shouldn't be thrown out there without proof. I mean how many different ways can you mock the evening news?
Pedro, you've had some interesting things to say but you played yourself pretty badly with one comment that negates anything halfway intelligent you may have said:
Point blank - canada is not part of the music industry. Really? Tell that to: Avril Lavigne Nickleback Nelly Furtado A Simple Plan Kardinal Offishal Swollen Members Arcade Fire Deborah Cox And I'm not even going to mention Celine Dion or Brian Adams. You're also a little off-base when you say: But I don't see how you can say that you don't feel that the song was jacked but you feel the video was jacked. It's either all or nothing. It's not all or nothing, the songs have different points to them. Seazon's is about what ails the world right now while Chamillionaire's is about how the world likes to blame Hip-Hop. They're two VERY different songs. Oh yeah, and in response to: there aren't very many major (platinum plus) artists doing collabos with Canadian emcees Kardinal Offishal is one of the biggest "gets" in the biz. Everyone wants him on their albums and many big name US MCs have.
I'll let the personal insult slide and admit I should have explained myself more clearly:
Point blank - canada is not part of the music industry. Neither is any other country outside of the United States when it comes to rap. When it comes to rap or even R&B the American music industry could care less what's going in Canada. Nelly Furtado - Not R&B Deborah Cox - Hasn't had anything close to a hit in close to ten years. Swollen Members - Underground at best Kardinal Offishall - One album with U.S. Distribution This is not my personal opinion about Canadian rap acts, it's the truth. When it comes to rap Canada is ignored. Personally I love guys like Classified, DL Incognito, Swollen Members, and ESPECIALLY Kardinal Offishall. But tell me if Canada is so relevant in the music industry why I had to actively look for months on eBay and elsewhere to get "Fire and Glory" for less than 20 bucks after it dropped? Why do guys like Classified or groups like Swollen Members fail to break 100,000 in U.S. sales? It's definitely not because these guys are making bad music, because a lot of the times their music is way better than the stuff that's popular here. If Canada were truly relevant Canadian rappers would be selling well and getting respect. It's not my opinion of the music, it's the industry and other fans who make it this way. Even Redman and Def Jam couldn't put over Saukrates and Choclair's album flopped. And if Kardinal is such a big "Get" please mention the last top ten Rap Album that featured the man on it? The closest you can get is guys like Akon, T-Pain, and Sean Kingston which are not rappers but singers and which all tend to bunch Kardinal with Reggae DJs and not as a rapper. So Kardinal basically has to play down his canadian rapper side and play up his Jamacain dancehall roots to get even a little respect/play. So don't try to throw the whole "You Don't Respect Canada, You're Close Minded" argument my way. I respect Canadian rap, I listen to a lot of it. But I know reality and the truth of the matter is that Canadian MCs don't matter in the U.S. So in a world where you can barely keep up with the groups that are charting on Billboard from week to week it's a bit of a reach to expect a rapper to keep up with an underground Canadian emcee and his independent video. In no way am I putting down the quality of the music they put out or disrespect Canadian artists, but they aren't that relevant. And if you think of your list of 10 artists, that's nothing compared the hundred or more that chart in the U.S. each year. More telling is that of the two rap acts on there neither has gone anywhere near gold. So rather than try to dismiss everything else I said because you got offended by my view on Canadian music acts, you should focus on the fact that there aren't that many similarities between the videos other than the parody of news. Personally, I don't see that much of a difference between the two songs, Chamillionaire mentions once that people try to blame hip-hop - otherwise both rappers run through different news stories from the past year or so to make social commentary. The closest similarities I can see are that both rappers are black and have braids. Outside of that they present their video in different ways. Cham uses actual footage and his video has a somewhat more serious and satirical tone to it - Seazon uses comedy, slapstick, and 100% original footage to get his point across. So my basic point, all other BS aside, is that if you give two people the job of making a music video to parody evening news they would likely both produce very similar videos. And in these two videos I do not see anything that is so strikingly similar that I would think one copied the other or vice versa.
I hear your argument but you're being a bit contradictory:
In no way am I putting down the quality of the music they put out or disrespect Canadian artists, but they aren't that relevant. You can't say they're dope and then in the next breath say they're irrelevant. Contrary to your assesment that 100K + in album sales = respect and relevancy, the fact of the matter is just by you saying they're dope means they're getting respect, which, in turn, means they're relevant! The fact that you want to search these artists out equates to respect and relevancy! If you have to sell records to be relevent then most US artists are irrelevant since none of them are moving units either. Back on the topic of the video, we can just agree to disagree.
No disrespect but...
If Y'all were really on your games, You'd Know that Rugged N Raw came out with a joint about 2 years ago that they're both biting. Watch via the link below. http://youtube.com/watch?v=f1ib-U6O6Q0 or got to http://RuggednRaw.com Pay attention closely Y'all it all starts in the underground. Adam I think you should look up R N R and see what he has to say about being bitten by both these cats and gaining no notoriety. There is no way possible that this shyt is a coincidence. The Underground creates. The Mainstream emanates. Peace, Love and the MIC, Tah!