And now rappers is usin' smilies to represent 'em
I think they bitin' but I don’t mind 'em or pay attention

from Ahmir (Ft. D-Pryde, Dumbfoundead, DyMe-A-DuZiN, Prince Ea & Traphik) – Forever (Youtube Remix) Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

DyMe frequently uses the emoticon =X (in mixtape names and as his logo). Once other rappers caught on to this, they started using smiley emoticons to represent themselves, basically jacking his steez

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