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ZZ Top’s New Single Based on ’90s Rap Song

ZZ Top

As if it weren’t weird enough for ZZ Top use a commercial for Jeremiah Weed malt liquor to debut the first single from its upcoming new album, here’s something you may not have realized about the song itself: The new track, ‘I Gotsta Get Paid,’ is a thinly rewritten cover of ’25 Lighters,’ a local late ’90s hit for Houston hip-hop artists DJ DMD, Lil Keke, and MC Fat Pat.

In fact, as ‘Battleship‘ director Peter Berg remembers, ZZ Top was actually calling their version ’25 Lighters’ when producer Rick Rubin pitched it for inclusion on the film’s soundtrack. Berg recalled his meeting with Rubin for the Hollywood Reporter: “I played an old ZZ Top song that I really liked and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty good, but listen to this,’ and he played me this crazy song … It’s this old gangsta hip-hop song about drug dealing, but it sounded like a rock song. I was like, ‘This is insane, who made this?’ and he said, ‘ZZ Top; it’s new.’”

The connection between the two songs was further illustrated by the Houston Press, where the history of ’25 Lighters’ is traced from its appearance on a pair of late ’90s Houston hip-hop compilations to its incorporation into a hit for rapper Big K.R.I.T. last year. We’ve embedded the original below, along with ZZ Top’s Jeremiah Weed commercial, for you to compare and contrast.

ZZ Top, ‘I Gotsta Get Paid’

DJ DMD feat. Little Keke and Fat Pat, ’25 Lighters’

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