Should Rappers Write Their Own Bars?
By Victoria Jonas
"A lot of people try to discredit me when it comes to my art, but I does this shit. That's why my name is in those credits," said Cardi B during her Songwriter of the Year acceptance speech at the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards. "Everybody always wants to say I made it because of this or made it because of that. I made it because I worked my ass off."
Earlier this month, Billboard released its “Billboard's Top Hot 100 Songwriters of 2018.” The list included artists like Ed Sheeran, Drake, Post Malone, Cardi B, Offset and 6ix9ine. Despite the approval from the music industry, Cardi B still faced fan disapproval because some listeners believe she doesn't write her own lyrics.
The conversation of big-name MCs not writing their songs is nothing new to hip-hop. "Rapper's Delight," hip-hop's first hit record was allegedly ghostwritten by Grandmaster Caz. From Lil Wayne to Drake, Lil Kim to Diddy, Snoop Dogg to Kanye West, several rappers have been accused of using someone else to guide their lyrical pen. In 2012, there were claims of Jay Electronica writing the majority of Nas' “Untitled” LP nonetheless, all accusations were shot down.
But, it's no secret that a lot of popular songs were written by other artists. For example, Dr. Dre's "Stil D.R.E." was written by Jay-Z. Ice Cube wrote the "Boyz-n-the Hood" track for Eazy-E. In an interview, Lil Yachty admitted to penning most of the City Girls' "Act Up." Although, these songs and many others were "ghostwritten," they were still top hits in the hip-hop community.
“I feel like it’s one of those things where as long as everyone tells the truth about the situation, it’s all good,” said @mayhem_mattt via Twitter.
On the other hand, other rappers stand on the principle that real MCs write their own material.
“I can dig rapping, but a rapper with a ghostwriter? What the fuck happened? (Oh no) I swore I wouldn't tell. But most of y'all share bars, like you got the bottom bunk in a two-man cell," said Kendrick Lamar on "King Kunta."
The females in hip-hop are also taking a stance on the ghostwriting matter.
Asian Da Brat said on Twitter, "Wtf do me saying I write my shit gotta do with anybody...Everybody who write they music love, saying they write they music. If you get offended, that's on YOU."
Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion also claim to write their own bars. Last week, Missy Elliot became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. However, other leading ladies in hip-hop like Cardi B and Yung Miami took the opposing position on ghostwriting.
"A hit is a hit! Some of y' all hoes need writers PERIODT," said Yung Miami via Instagram post.
Often, there are negative thoughts about ghostwriters, co-writers and collaborators because many believe rappers should write their own material.
“All rappers should write their own bars. It’s more authentic,” said @chromecominup via Instagram.
Yet, it is a well-known fact that many songs and artists have benefited from writing assistance of some sort.
“Some people can’t rap but can write, and vice versa. Everyone has to eat,” said @tyeneemight via Instagram.
Let's be honest, reciting your own raps isn't the only factor of being a rapper. Every good song isn’t lyrically good. Rapping is also about flow, delivery and demeanor. Additionally, lyrical rappers sometimes don't get as much attention as commercial rappers with less musical talents.
So, should rappers write their own bars?
Comment on Instagram @kapitalmags
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