Lyricism. The primary reason I love hip-hop. The use of analogies, similes and metaphors is the absolute number 1 reason I listen to hip-hop music. Now that isn’t ALL I buy or support but it definitely is my first true love. As I’ve gotten older one argument I steer clear from is “Greatest of All Time”. I do it for 2 reasons.
1. Hip-Hop isn’t over
2. Depending on when you were born, who introduced you to hip-hop and what you heard your answer is generational and situational.
However there is one aspect of the game that I am dead set on…Ghostwriting. To me…You can NEVER be in the CONVERSATION of the greatest of all time if you at ANY POINT in your ENTIRE CAREER had a Ghostwriter.
I get it. Music is a business and people want to make money. Beyonce, Mariah and Justin Biber don’t write all they songs and they the best at what they do….True but, their vocal ability is their talent not necessarily their lyricism. Everyone can’t sing with the range of Mariah..People would Pay Mariah Carey to sing Olive Garden Menus! Also I understand, that charisma, delivery, cadence and flat out star quality and likability are what make Rap Superstars for these labels..but didn’t we have that with Kurtis Blow, Run DMC and LL Cool J? Didn’t they all possess “THE STAR PACKAGE” without that extra pen? To me it’s a sign that the game has evolved but the overall talent hasn’t.
This is rap! A genre that wasn’t even considered music at conception so all you had was your word play and delivery. I have an honest problem with guys [and girls]who brag and boast about being the best and then you find out that they may have only written half of their biggest song. Let’s look at some of the confirmed or alleged offenders of Ghostwriting
Kanye West – Word to God I am a BIG Kanye fan but I just can’t ignore the glaring articles and accusations that Yeezy’s G.O.O.D Music roster pulls a Voltron when it’s time for his album to drop. Rhymesfest, Consequence, Malik Yusef, Really Doe and Lupe have all been rumored or confessed to writing for Kanye. It truly breaks my heart! Especially after the fact that when I heard Late Registration you couldn’t tell me that Kanye West was NOT the BEST RAPPER OUT! Until Mr. West can prove that EVERY SINGLE BAR is his…I will always be a fan..but he can NEVER be Top 5…PERIOD.
Fat Joe – I really like Fat Joe…and I’m a 50 Cent Fan. I thought Fat Joe was one of the hardest rhymers of the 90’s..until I got wind of Lord Finess, Big Pun, Cuban Link and Ja Rule assisting in some of his best and biggest songs! Back tracking his whole career its even debatable if Fat Joe has ever really written a rap! Here’s another guy through his team and great networking affiliation has sculpted and incredible career by hip-hop standards….On the low…I want to write for Joe. I would love the opportunity!
The Game – For some reason NO ONE BELIEVED me on this at his peak. I remembered the mixtape before the G-Unit engine decided to assist the young Aftermath artist…and it was weak! Sorry. Not digging it. I didn’t even like the Diss tracks. The house of Aftermath is built on Ghostwriting though. Without Snoop, RBX and the Dogg Pound there is no Chronic. Without Eminem, Hitman, Mel Man,Knocturnal, Xzibit, Royce Da 5’9 etc etc etc There would be no Chronic 2001…So why would I expect Dr. Dre’s Compton Protege The Game to write all his raps? I know his work with Nas speaks for itself and they kid on Black Wallstreet that NEVER dropped I’m sure is well taken care of but I’m just a stickler for the rap rules. I’ll admit I use to get furious about this but now…it’s whatever
Nas – NOW I DON’T WANT TO BELIEVE ANY OF THIS…BUT Dream Hampton says that Jay Electronica and M-1 from Dead Prez have been Ghostwriting for Nas since the Nigger Tape and Nigger Album…Nas said No…Neither artist to my knowledge has came out to refute it. Nas is my favorite rapper EVER! I want this to be beyond false.
Lil Wayne – I’ve never been a Wayne fan but I will give him my respect. When Gillie Da Kid came forward and said “He Is The Carter” to me it honestly answered my question on “How did Wayne turn the corner LYRICALLY that quick”. A lot of Wayne Stans want to act like Lights Out and 500 Degrees didn’t happen and they want to base his legacy off Dedication and Carter releases…BUT YOU CAN’T! You MUST count his entire body of work. Is Wayne truly writing or freestyling his songs? I believe so NOW because he can put out anything and the stans will purchase and now his stans are saying he is falling off. Also let’s not forget He wrote The Big Tymers Album and Like Father Like Son…Where do those projects place in raps Lyrical History???
There are so many reasons to call a rapper WHACK and not support them in any way. People criticize Trinidad James, Wacka Flocka, Future, French Montana, Memphis Bleek, Soulja Boy and countless others for their “lack of BARS” but here is the deal…If they are REALLY WRITING and the current “on top emcee” Really ISN’T who is to say who is better than who?
Then you have rappers like Royce Da 5’9, Styles P, Joe Budden, Skillz and others who have literally written some of your favorite songs but Can’t get their own plaque to save their life! That’s messed up!
Maybe biting rhymes is why this issue exist…that’s a topic for a later date.
One thought on “Pen Pals: Is Ghostwriting Altering Who’s The Best Emcee?”
Wayne’s progression occurred on the Sqad Up mixtapes. His Renegade, Aww Naw, and best of me freestyles are prime examples of the progress he was making. Also, IMO, Light’s Out is a good album. Many of the songs, such as On the Grind, contain multisyllabic schemes, which shows that he was a simple rapper.