Is It Okay For a Rapper to Use a Ghostwriter?

Is It Okay For Rappers To Use Ghostwriters?
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Is It Okay For Rappers To Use Ghostwriters?
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Ghostwriter image by r.e. Kittson, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)

Would you respect a rapper that uses lyrics written by a ghostwriter?

D.R.A.M. is going through a good moment. For the past few weeks, his single with Lil Yachty, Broccoli, has been in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In an interview with Sway In The Morning, D.R.A.M. heard the new generation like Lil Yachty were catching a lot of heat over their credibility. He was then asked if four of his singles are doing well, do albums still matter? Take a look at his response, which he didn’t hesitate to give.

“Yes. Because I’m a, I’m a student to the game, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m a steward to the people, like, this is, this is what we do it for, you know, like. It’s not about like, what, I mean, in my mind, like, I still like feel as though, you know, you know certain things matter, like, like, you know what I mean?

You know, thank God for streaming and the way that, that runs or whatever. It’s, it’s still a very hard feat to get certain accolades done, you know? Like I want a Grammy, you know what I mean? I want, I want, I want multiple Grammys this year, you feel me? Like, so it’s like, I know, I feel like I want to be among the rankings of, of the folks who did it that way, even though it’s still like, you know, still a new generation.”

The most important part of the interview came after being asked if writing his own lyrics still matter. He quickly responded,

“I, I, I write all of my … ain’t, ain’t nobody writing…for me. Facts.”

This statement brought him praise from the radio crew for being a true student of the game. A co-host told him,

Plus your check look different with a hundred percent of your writers is yours.

Later on during the interview, D.R.A.M. proves his rapping skills by freestyling.

Taking a closer look at D.R.A.M.’s comments touch on an important part of rapping mainstream. For a rapper to gain true credibility, they must write their own lyrics.

Last year, Drake’s credibility went down after Meek Mill revealed that Drake’s verse on R.I.C.O was co-written by ghostwriter Quentin Miller. This wasn’t the only time QM worked with Drake, as Funkmaster Flex later claimed that Quentin Miller had also ghostwritten for Drake on 10 Bands. Speaking about ghostwriting for rappers in the music industry, an anonymous ghostwriter told MTV,

With rappers, you’re only coming to them because they can rap. So if you’re not rapping, what are we doing, why am I here? And that’s the tug of war that the older fans understand from a different generation and the newer fans don’t get.”

Drake isn’t the only rapper who’s been accused of using ghostwriting lyrics. Kanye West has faced similar accusations with his songs. After Kanye West boasted that he wrote his own lyrics, Rhymefest opened up and said,

I’ve written for all of Kanye’s albums with the exception of 808s & Heartbreak. There are a lot of songs that my name isn’t even on.”

The names go on. Ghostwriting for rappers has become so prominent that several websites have compiled list of top rappers that have allegedly or admittedly used ghostwriters. Hot New Hip Hop has their own top 10 list which features Kanye and Dr. Dre, and MTV hasn’t shied away either, pointing the finger at Diddy, Snoop Dogg, and more.

So, the question is, would you respect a rapper who doesn’t write their own lyrics? Or should fans expect and even accept ghostwritten lyrics? You can watch the full D.R.A.M. interview below.

3 Responses

  1. 2

    of course it’s allright for ghostwriting. some people are performers, some are writers, some are both. if it can happen in rock music, it can happen in rap. why not have a great writer, with years of experience writing raps, write, or help write the song? (elvis didn’t write his own songs either. ) who cares if it’s all just a persona?

  2. mgs

    i’ll i keep hearing in my head is Eazy – E’s verse – “Ice Cube writes the rhymes that I say”

    didn’t seem like he had a problem with it –