This whole Drake vs Meek Mill thing has really got my wheels turning and it’s showing how much people know or don’t know about hip-hop. There’s a couple of things from a fan perspective that has to be eliminated, so that an ultimate level of understanding can take place. Drake, much like many others before his time, is following the Rap Crew Format. Somehow the picture of “Drake’s legacy is tarnished because of reference tracks” is being painted and many are forgetting two things.
1. Quintin Miller was credited for all the tracks he helped compose.
2. Many feel that “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” is far from some of Drake’s best work.
I get it. “Rappers should write their own rhymes. ALL OF THEM! That’s how it was back in the day.” I use to say things just like this, especially when I was penning down bars for my own mixtapes. Then came the days of wisdom and understanding. Since the beginning of the art “Reference tracks” “borrowed rhymes” and “style a cadences have been paid homage to” for decades and I just had to eat that and move one.
It either Shocked and or Broke My Heart to Hear/Read.
Lord Finesse, Cuban Link and Big Pun wrote for Fat Joe. However, that made it easy to hear Ja Rule’s work on the J.O.S.E album.
Big Daddy Kane wrote the rhymes that got Biz Markie a deal and respect
Nas really did take a flip some Rakim lines
Nas wrote “Getting Jiggy With It” for Will Smith
Ice Cube and MC Ren are the sole pens of N.W.A
Lil Kim’s “Queen Bish” was a reference track from Biggie
Cam’ron wrote “Crush on You” for Lil Kim
Jay-Z Wrote Foxy Brown’s Affirmative Action verse and Still D.R.E for Dr. Dre
Royce Da 5’9 wrote for Chronic 2001 and Diddy’s Press Play album
Jay used the Young Gunz style and cadence for an album. That style ran rap for about 2-3 years.
I still want to know how much Lupe Fiasco contributed to The Black Album and if 50 Cent wrote Diddy’s verse for Bad Boys For Life. So until further notice, those are both unconfirmed.
The crazy thing about all of this is, all the facts above were probably never even known or researched by today’s rap fan. The other side to this is, some people are able to get tremendous respect for getting reference tracks and no one seems to care at all.
The Gillie Da Kid and Lil Wayne tandem is completely disregarded and that was during he first notable rhyming year.
The Game was considered one of the best out lyrically at one time and he was given the original lead singles from “The Massacre” album.
Jay-Z has been borrowing Biggie lines and making hit records out of them for over 15 years.
Another unconfirmed writers moment: Some say that Proof was told to downplay his bars so Eminem could shine. Now, that didn’t surface until Proof passed away, but it does make hip-hop think.
I think what is missed in all this is, this is what Real Rap Crews Do. The hand has to stay hot so the team can win collectively. The old saying goes “No one does it alone” and rap is another aspect of that. Rap being apart of the music business that is. Is it really wrong? If you make sure your crew is the hottest and set the trends and be the guys that the girls love and the guys want to be, is it really a problem grand scale?
Now to Quentin Miller. I seriously doubt he is ever going to speak ill of Drake. Why? Because Quentin is on Team OVO and he’s eating. Quentin contributed to 3 of the biggest records of 2015 this year and his publishing checks are going to be right! Drake is possibly in the process of making this young guy a millionaire, if he isn’t already. That’s why Quentin Miller is going to play his position and rightfully so. There is no telling who he’s in the studio with right now because of his work on Drake’s last project. See how accurate the “Come live out your Dreams at OVO” line was on “Charged Up”?
This moment has me thinking that, if I along with my counterparts weren’t so “Perceived old school” about writing all our own rhymes during the NLE Music period, we might have a couple Billboard Awards or Grammy’s on our mantles right now. It also makes me want to form and rap and writing crew and perhaps take some young talent next level if their grind and focus is right.
Really look at how the game works today. Meek accused Drake of not writing raps, yet Drake is responding with nothing but raps and Meek is responding on social media. One might even say Meek needs help writing since the best line of his response wasn’t in the actual verse. OVO is killing Dreamchasers right now, lyrically. There’s no way to deny it. I’ll take a reference track over a twitter rant any day from a rapper. If that’s what this is proof of, then so be it.