Did These Artists Unintentionally Jack Another Musician’s Career?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — until it gives someone else's career a jumpstart.

You know how the older sibling sort of “paves the way” for the younger sibling to go on and do great things? Artists often pave the way for each other — unknowingly or not, and in some cases, their previously unheard of counterparts become more famous than them. Find out which artists tried to gain fame after jacking someone else’s style, and whether or not it worked.

  • Young Thug and Lil Wayne

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    Young Thug idolizes Lil Wayne so much, he tried to release Tha Carter 6 in Wayne’s stead. Weezy’s camp obviously wasn’t having it, so Thug changed the name of the project to one equally as unsubtle: Barter 6. The album, which dropped just last week, rose to the top five of Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, but no careers were truly stolen—yet.

  • Adele and Duffy

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    Adele and Duffy’s careers both began to take off in the late 2000’s. Both British songstresses released soulful retro-tinged 2008 debut LPs, both evoked images of powerhouse soul singer Dusty Springfield. Duffy caused a stir with the catchy hook of “Mercy,” but it was Adele’s heartbreaking 21 that garnered the most attention, launching her to superstardom.

  • Sam Smith and John Newman

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    John Newman and Sam Smith’s not only share similar styles looks-wise, they both possess booming, impassioned voices. Newman dropped his first album, Tribute, in 2013. “Love Me Again” got its fair share of airplay, but the fire behind Newman’s career began to fade with the release of Smith’s heartbreaking In the Lonely Hour last year. We all know who came out on top in this case.

  • Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber

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    Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber both got recognized through social media — YouTube in Bieber’s case, Vine in Mendes’. The Biebs was eagerly welcomed into the music world as a young, dewy-skinned charmer who could both sing and dance. He began to fall off after he got in trouble with the law several times, clearing the way for Shawn Mendes to come up with a clean slate. Mendes rose to the top of the Bilboard 200 chart with the release of Handwritten, simultaneously becoming the youngest artist after Bieber to have a number one debut album.

  • Zendaya and Cassie

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    The visuals to Zendaya’s “Replay” look familiar. Remember Cassie’s “Me & U” music video? Cassie had a promising start in music with the backing of Ryan Leslie and eventually Diddy, but she soon fell off due to relationship dramas and lackluster live performances. Cassie did, however, cut out a hole for a tall, R&B singer-dancer in the music industry that Zendaya could fill, and that’s what the 18-year-old “Replay” singer is now doing.

  • Lady Gaga and Madonna

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    Lady Gaga admits she’s influenced by Madonna, though we didn’t really need Gaga to confirm this to know that it’s true. “Born This Way” caused many to draw comparisons between Gaga’s song and Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” In a very Madonna moment, Madge later revealed in an ABC interview that she felt Gaga’s song was “reductive” and quietly sipped her tea after subtly insulting Gaga. Madge has since released a new album, but it seems as though her wild antics — kissing Drake, for example — are what get her attention, these days.

  • Jason Derulo and Jay Sean

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    Don’t mistake Jason Derulo’s infamous self-naming at the beginning of his songs for “Jay Sean Derulo.” These two singers are indeed different people, though they both straddle the lines of R&B and pop. As Derulo started landing more airplay, Jay Sean’s career took the backseat. And now we have songs like “Wiggle” and “Talk Dirty” flooding the charts.

  • Fifth Harmony and Danity Kane

    Music was in the market for a group of leggy ladies with long hair and high-powered vocals after the fall of Danity Kane, and the industry found what it was looking for in Fifth Harmony. For some time, Danity Kane had resurrected the girl group figure that fans nostalgic for Spice Girls missed, but unfortunately, group drama got the best of them. The ladies of Fifth Harmony seem to be all good so far on that front.

  • One Direction and The Wanted

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    Just when they were fighting the good uphill battle to stardom, The Wanted seemed to come tumbling back down. What ever happened to the U.K. boy band? One Direction. It seems as though the U.K. had room for only one swoon-worthy boy band at the time, and The Wanted didn’t make the cut. The band members have since gone separate ways.

  • Chris Brown and Usher

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    “Confessions” and “Let It Burn” are timeless, and we are forever grateful to Usher for bringing them into this world. But when Chris Brown entered the scene, he became the new fresh face of R&B who could sing, run those notes, and dance. Things were never the same for Usher, who collaborated most recently with Chris Brown on “New Flame.”

  • Sean Paul and Shaggy

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    Sean Paul broke into popular music as a reggae dancehall crossover, a feat that Shaggy before him had overcome. Shaggy found a way to remain relevant despite Sean Paul outshining him for some time. Shaggy released new albums and appeared on talk shows, and “It Wasn’t Me” continued to be a staple of the 2000’s. Sean Paul dropped an album just last year, but other than that, he hasn’t been heard from.

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