The Myth of Ghostwriting in Hip-Hop. Is Ghostwriting Blasphemous to the Culture?

August 16, 2012 6

NasIt is the ideology that in hip-hop it’s blasphemy to have a ghost writer. Also in music culture in general everyone want their favorite artist to have created the entire song alone. What if I told you Micheal Jackson had  plenty ghostwriters or Whitney Houtson had ghostwriters would you think I was telling the truth? What if I told you in fact a white guy from England named Rod Temperton wrote “Rock Wit You”, “Thriller” and many more. In fact Whitney Houston’s biggest hit was written by Dolly Parton “Allways Love You”.  When you look inside a album cover and see the writer credits if its more than one name theres more than one writer. My next question is how often do you see that?  Go thru your albums in your personal collection and I will bet maybe once in 20-30 songs will you see one name in the writer credits and if you do it will be a intro or interlude.

Now there are artist that are that special to write & produce everything  like R. Kelly ,Prince, Elton John, Pharell, Andre 3000, J Cole to name a few. But in all genres there are “Ghostwriters” they are called BMI , ASCAP, etc. They are publishing companies that actually sell songs to your favorite artist. Why do you think people like Rodney Jerkins, Quincy Jones,Missy Elliot, Full Force yes Full Force the old school R&B group are around they write or have written hits that you love for other people.

In recent light of the Nasgate  Ghostwriting scandal. Everyone wants to know is one of the greatest lyricist to ever touch a pen not writing his own material all the time.

  Its many forms of ghostwriting and the main form is “Ghost” outta sight outta mind. Meaning your name as a writer is not in the credits. If your name is in the credits its a collaboration . Maybe somebody else wrote the hook. Is that “ghostwriting”? What if they came up with  dope bridge?  Is that “Ghostwriting”? What if you did a back to back verse and he gave you lines and you gave him some is that “Ghostwriting”. Ghostwriting is this Biggie reference track for Lil Kim “Queen Bitch”  

What would you think if Kanye West gave a few lines to Jay-Z while recording “Watch The Throne” .  I think people confuse collaboration with ghostwriting.  Here’s some footage of them two in the studio making “Lucifer” . If you go to the 1:57min mark you can see Kanye making the hook that Jay-Z sings. 

I think in Hip-Hop its a double standard. While Dr Dre can get the best of the best to write his rhymes ,and people consider his music classic. A guy like Nas can’t. While Micheal Jackson can have ghostwriters for years . A guy like Jay-Z can’t. You decide should every artist in hip-hop pen 100% everything?

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  • Chilli

    You hit it right on the head, im one of the biggest nas fans there is and hearing this news was crazy for me but at the same time i know for a fact theres times when some of the best rappers has ppl in the studio with them help them with some part of a song just bc they may have a better line or hook its a collab more than ghostwriting

  • DJCircuitBreaka

    no doubt

  • DjChrome215

    On some real i think only singers should have ghost writers if u need someone else to write your lyrics thats ass instead of gettin help in the studio thats just a collabo thats hiphop but thats just my opinion

  • Tizzalini

    Its like doping you cant be elite and get caught. Assistance is different.

  • mikeblack

    well speaking as a artist who had an album out and been on tour, i think it sad when artist struggle that are good and some lame like wyne,get drake to write some songs and he get called a great mc. but krs-one been real for years and does not get his props.

  • rapper’sdelight

    The whole premise of hip-hop/rap is based on the notion of “keeping it real” therefore authenticity is fundamental. It is different for a singer because they have their voice to make up for uncredited lyricism. If a rapper does not write his own lyrics, there is a disconnect because you expect it to be their own lyrics. This means that in reality anybody can be a rapper, with the right ghostwriter(s). On the other hand, not anybody can be a singer, trust me I know better than anyone else. When you listen to Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.” you don’t want to be thinking about Jay-Z but unfortunately as truth reveals, now this song, which I thought was Dre’s is not really…That’s just my opinion.