Hip hop: scared of ghost­writ­ing

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SUNKEN TREASURE - Jim Car­roll

It is the year of the ghost­writer in hip-hop but, let’s be hon­est, it’s al­ways been the year of the ghost­writer to one ex­tent or an­other. Ever since Big Bank Hank bor­rowed lyrics from Casanova Fly for the Sugarhill Gang’s Rap­per’s De­light, some rap­pers have leaned on other writ­ers for lines and leads.

This is the way of the walk in most gen­res. It’s ac­cepted that a hit song will come with a long list of co-writ­ers – even be­fore the likes of Mark Ron­son or Sam Smith re­mem­ber to ret­ro­spec­tively credit peo­ple such as the Gap Band or Tom Petty – and it never causes a blip.

Hip-hop is dif­fer­ent and the slight­est hint around ghost­writ­ing can bring on a bout of hand­bags which make “yo Mama” memes look like an av­er­age day of shout­ing and roar­ing in the Dáil. Look at the ker­fuf­fle which occurred when Drake was ac­cused of not pen­ning his own work by Meek Mill.

The fact that Drake may have to seek some help from more ex­pe­ri­enced hands would not have caused a blind bit of at­ten­tion else­where, but it sets off alarm bells when you bring hip-hop’s de­sire for au­then­tic­ity and real­ness into play.

But some ghost­writ­ers can make a lu­cra­tive few bob from their skills. Nas (above left), last seen not turn­ing up for the Web Sum­mit last weeks, is widely be­lieved to have helped pen Will Smith’s Get­ting Jiggy Wit It, a track which would prob­a­bly not have made the Ill­matic cut. Mean­while, a young up-and-com­ing Jay Z joined the long cast of writ­ers who’ve done time writ­ing rhymes for Dr Dre. Good work if you can get it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.