Recently, Atlanta MC Young Jeezy put out his much-awaited Thug Motivation 103 album’s latest single, “F.A.M.E. (Fake Ass Muthaf—as Envy),” featuring closing bars by a back-in-the-game T.I. , online, and since then, the song has been viewed more than 160,000 times and has been heavily commented on.
Ironically, the song, in which Jeezy and T.I. both call out hateration and envy, has been met with a smidge of criticism, though judging by the type of folks leaving the comments, it should come as no surprise.
In fact, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced song is based around a 2005 trance-music classic, Above & Beyond vs. Andy Moor’s “Air for Life,” which features vocals by Carrie Skipper. In the comments section of the song online, trance-music purists both lament the hip-hop reworking of “Air” but also suggest the sample was used without permission, something Above & Beyond’s Tony McGuinness (the Above & Beyond trio also includes Jono Grant & Paavo Siljamäki) addressed when MTV News caught up with him over Skype on Monday.
“The finer points of the deal are still being put together now,”
McGuinness said, “But they basically asked if we were OK with it in principle, and we were. I think a lot of people have been assuming that Jeezy’s been ripping us off. But if anyone knows the stature of the guy, he’s not the kind of guy who’s gonna do that.”
In fact, according to McGuinness, Jeezy and his manager are huge Above & Beyond fans, and A&B are proud to see their work find a new interpretation.
“In terms of what our fans think of it,” McGuinness said, “well, it’s two of our fans that have made this song: Jeezy and his manager both love Above & Beyond, and so they are doing what we’ve encouraged all of our fans to do, really, which is use our music in their lives as they see fit.
“People use our music to go down the aisle at their wedding or at their stag party or whatever else they do, and what this guy does is make sample-based hip-hop music and rap about his life,” McGuinness added. “And he felt the emotion that was in ’Air for Life,’ and it helped him get his message across. And that’s cool.”
And fret not, A&B fans, “F.A.M.E.” does not mark a foray into the hip-hop genre for your trance heroes. They do not have plans to collaborate on hip-hop songs in the future. Still, McGuinness reminded us that music is about experimentation, and people should be open to new things.
“I think you need to keep an open mind and see the way the world is changing,” McGuinness said. “We are not putting our name to it or trying to give ourselves artist notification on the record. It’s a piece of music written a couple of years back and it’s being used in this track. And that’s cool! And if it introduces a few more people to Above & Beyond, then fantastic!
“We’ve been hearing how trance music’s been seeping out in the past few years into R&B and hip-hop, and it’s quite tickling to have one of our tracks enter that world in that way because I think for a long time, people were kind of shying away from it,” he continued. “But now there seems to be this kind of widespread acceptance, and that maybe there is something good in there. And that’s nice to hear.”