What Part of The Game Is That?!?!?! - Is Nas A Fraud

Posted On Saturday, January 26, 2013

So, Nas had a ghostwriter for his “Untitled” album huh? I don’t know if I should be relieved (cause the album was so wack) or be disgusted cause we just found out that one of the most revered MC’s EVER needed a ghostwriter. Now since this came out (or at least when I heard about it) yesterday, I’ve seen a RACK of different opinions about it. Some good, some bad and some REALLY bad. My dude Kin got at me this morning on some how do I feel about it and to be honest…hip hop is dead. And trust me, I’m not trying to be dramatic either cause that ain’t me. But IF this is true, this is the final nail in the coffin of hip hop for me. First, let’s look at some of the arguments I’ve been seeing from different folk on twitter. I saw one tweet about how hip hop is the only genre of music where co-writing is frowned upon. My reaction to that is, you’re right. Hip Hop is the only genre like that because to me hip hop WAS a culture. It’s basically how Kris told us on “Hip Hop vs. Rap” “rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live.” So when you’re talking about living something, how can you live something, that’s a lie? I mean, how would you feel if you found out Jay Z never sold drugs and wasn’t from Marcy but was really from Syracuse, went to private school his whole life and got a 1600 on the SAT? Nowadays there aren’t any rules in hip hop, so none of these tight jean fans and Jay Z stans would care but I think die hard hip hop heads would feel some kinda way because we would've been lied to for the past 10+ years. When I found out Prodigy wasn’t from Queensbridge after he’s screamed it at me a million times for the past 15+ years, I felt some kinda way. To my knowledge P, has ONLY said “I’m from Hempstead” one time (on “Party’s Over”) in his hip hop career. EVERYHTING else has been about Queensbridge…and he’s not even from there. Now what sense does that make?

I knew hip hop was being buried alive when I saw a flick of ‘Lil Wayne kissing Baby on the lips…and no one seemed to care! If Rakim kissed Eric B on the lips and there was documented proof of it, dude would be banned from hip hop history! I don’t care if he wrote “Know the Ledge”, “Microphone Fiend”, “Eric B. Is President” and “My Melody!” But not only did Wayne not lose any fans, I heard people coming to his support like “what’s wrong with a man kissing his father? See that’s what’s wrong with society, a man can’t kiss his father on the lips and nothing be wrong with it.” WTF?!?!?! First things first, Baby ain’t that dude’s father and secondly, I’ve NEVER kissed my father on the lips and if I did it was when I was a baby and was forced to do it but no damn way since I learned how to use my brain. But the simple fact that people are defending it tells me where the average hip hop fan’s head is nowadays. I’m sure Gillie Da Kid was left scratching his head (I think he leaked the picture) thinking he had the big joker in his hand to ruin Wayne’s career and it just didn’t happen that way. Same thing when the accusations were out about Rick Ross being a C.O. and he kept saying it wasn’t true…only to find out that it was true. And did that sink Ross’ career? Nope. In fact Ross seemed to grow even more popular. So nowadays in the hip hop game you actually may become more popular by lying to your fans and kissing a man on the lips? Yup, hip hop is dead.

Another argument I read was that hip hop was built on ghostwriters. That the Sugar Hill Gang didn’t write their rhymes and Dr. Dre & Eazy E, Biz Mark, Pete Rock, etc. didn’t write their rhymes either. And that thought pattern is kinda right but I wouldn’t say hip hop was “built” on ghostwriting. See, when the Sugarhill Gang dropped, the streets were looking at those dudes like some sellouts. So it was no big deal cause those dudes were like puppets to the streets. Kinda the same way all of the other dudes I named were like puppets to me. I NEVER looked at Eazy E as a MC. Even back in the late 80’s without the internet, twitter, facebook, blogs, a million and one hip hop magazines, word still got to ear on the east coast ALL the way from the west coast that D.O.C. was writing for Eazy and Dre. So it wasn’t like those dudes were trying to hide the fact that Eazy and Dre didn’t write their own rhymes. But Ren and Cube were the cats in NWA who I looked at as MC’s and I PRAY that they were writing their rhymes. As far as Pete Rock, I look at him as producer who wanted to rhyme but couldn’t write so he had Puba write for him but again, I don’t look at Pete Rock as a MC. A couple of years ago there was this rumor floating around that Rakim wrote “Summertime” for Will. Was I disgusted? Nope. Cause I haven’t looked at Will as a MC since he stopped being “The Fresh Prince” and simply became “Will Smith.” In fact, I went to Morgan State with Kel Spencer who wrote a RACK of Will’s rhymes (and a lot of other rappers – who I also don’t look at as MC’s) but a HUGE problem a lot of MC’s faced when the 90’s came was they couldn’t keep up with the times. Which is why a lot of 80’s MC’s fell off because they couldn’t keep up with these young cats. But by the mid 90’s cat’s philosophy changed to why should I fall off and have to get a 9-5 when I could just get these younger cats to write my rhymes for me and keep putting out albums and touring and being a star? So again, I wouldn’t say hip hop was built on ghostwriting but it has been around for a minute.

One thing I’ve learned in life is whenever money comes into play it’s going to ruin the integrity of everything it touches. As big as Milli Vanilli was, why did they disappear? Because they weren’t actually singing, right? But why did people care? Their songs sold million and million of records so who cares if they didn’t really sing it? But the world sure seemed to care cause you never heard from those dudes again. So in R&B it may not matter that you don’t write your own songs BUT it does matter if you don’t really sing your songs. So I guess other genres have rules too but maybe just not as deep as hip hop’s rules. And the other thing about hip hop is I look at MC’s the same way I look at authors. Dean Koontz is one of my favorite authors and if I found out he never wrote any of his books or even didn’t write just one, I’d feel some kinda way. Because the reason I like YOU is because I thought YOU wrote this book. If YOU didn’t write it, then I don’t like YOU, I like the person who wrote it. A minute ago there was a movie out called “Anonymous” about Shakespeare not writing any of his plays. If that was true, do you know what that would do to the foundation of modern literature? The same exact thing that would happen to hip hop if we found out Nas didn’t write any of his own rhymes. If this is true and Nas had a ghostwriter, it would throw me for a sec (like it did last night) but I wouldn’t be shocked because AGAIN, no one cares anymore. Money is what people care about. And to be honest, we’ve seen this same thing time and time again, even if we didn’t realize it was going on.
Peep game, when Dr. Dre started making beats, you didn’t hear ANY mumbles of Dre didn’t do the beats on Straight Outta Compton, DOC “No One Can Do It Better” or “Niggaz4Life.” But once “2001” dropped all of these accusations came out the blue from Daz and other dudes screaming they did the beats on “The Chronic” and “Doggystyle.” I never believed those claims namely because Dre’s sound didn’t change. He was looping drums and sampling which is the same formula he’d been doing for years. Recently Kane and Biz came out the woodworks saying they were the producers of their early Cold Chillin’ releases NOT Marley cause they were bringing the samples to the studio for Marley to use which in their mind meant they were the producer. My beef with that is why’d you wait 20 years to tell us that? So if Daz and ‘em are saying things like “I gave Dre the sample for “Nuthin But A G Thing”, I don’t look at that like Dre isn’t making his beats or Dre is using “ghost producers” to make beats for him. Hell, Large Professor gave Pete Rock the Tom Scott sample for “T.R.O.Y.” so in your opinion was Pete Rock’s claim to fame beat REALLY produced by Extra P? If you peep the credits on Diamond D’s 1st album, he gave co production credit (but not loot) to cats that gave him records to sample but a lot of cats don’t do that and who’s to say who’s right or wrong. Now, when Dre dropped “2001” I could TOTALLY believe he had other cats in his camp helping him with beats or even doing them for him because his whole sound changed. That’s also around the time Mel Man (one of Dre’s “protégés”) came on the scene. And I remember Questlove saying that Scott Storch actually did the beat for “Still Dre.” Same thing with Timbaland, when his sound changed, all of a sudden he had his new “protégé” Danja on his team who was 9 times outta 10 doing the bulk of production for Tim during that whole Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Madonna pop music phase Tim was going through. Why get other producers to come in and make beats and put your name on them you ask? The same reason MC’s (or rappers) go get ghost writers. Simply because their sound is getting outdated and they gotta keep up with what’s dropping now so it’s either I’m gonna get some young hungry dudes to come up under me and make beats for me so I can stay relevant or I could just fall off and go broke. So what decision do you think cats are gonna make?

At the end of the day the hip hop industry is just as corny as wrestling is nowadays. It’s a bunch of cats acting like they’re something they’re not. It’s to the point I don’t even know why they have credits in the CD inserts anymore cause about every 10 years (it must be a 10 year “keep your mouth shut” clause cause it seems like after 10 years pass you get all these accusations coming outta everywhere) someone’s gonna pop their head out the sand and say “such a such didn’t write or produce that. I did!” I just read an article over at complex.com and Tone from the Trackmasterz was saying HE produced BIG’s “Who Shot Ya?” not Nashiem Myrick! He said that Nash had the sample but that HE had to come in and “produce” it. So again, why are we just hearing this story 12+ years after one of the ILLEST beats dropped? Wouldn’t you have wanted to claim that you made one of the illest beats EVER...when it dropped? Maybe Puff had them dudes on the 12+ years “keep your mouth shut” plan though. But me personally, I believe these accusations about Nas. Why? Well, #1 because one of hip hop’s most respected journalists Dream Hampton has cosigned these claims about Jay Elect and Sticman ghostwriting for Nas and that she heard reference tapes for 6 songs. Now some folk may not care about that but I took journalism classes in undergrad and interned at the Philadelphia Daily News for a year in high school and if you’re a REAL journalist (and Dream being around for 15+ years categorizes her as a REAL journalist) the most important thing to you is the integrity of your writing and what you report. So, I just don’t see Dream pulling this out her hat just to stir something up. And #2, because Nas has yet to come out to defend himself. This isn’t Kobe getting accused of rape 10 years ago when you gotta take the time and wait to set up a press conference to clear your name. Nas could jump on twitter, call up Flex, post something somewhere, etc. to say that Dream and this other dude is lying. Jay Elect could do the same to say he didn’t write anything for Nas. But so far the only person to respond has been Sticman from Dead Prez:

“As far as the rumors about myself and jay electronica ghost writing for Nas, let me say this. Nas is one of the if not the most prolific lyricist to EVER do it. My contribution to his album was a collaboration and an honor and under his direction of what he wanted to convey and say. Haters can’t discredit that man’s genius. Nas is the Don.”

Now, maybe I’m buggin but couldn’t money have just said “it ain’t true.” But this dude just wrote a novel in some cryptic code saying “under his direction of what he wanted to convey” which basically means “I wrote about what he told me to write about.” Now trust me, some Nas stan will swoop in just in the nick of time with his “QB” cape on to say “naw dun, son said he collabed with dun, not that he wrote for him.” And my reply would simply be a “hip hop collabo” means you write your verse and I’ll write mine. Did AZ need to tweet a novel about the making of “Life’s A Bitch.?” Naw…cause 9 times outta 10, Nas wrote his verse and AZ wrote his. Maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of “The First 48” but when you’re innocent, isn’t THAT usually the first thing out your mouth? Or if there’s a witness to help prove your innocence, they usually start off with “he didn’t do it.” They don't start off by telling some LONG story of how the person being accused was an all A student and never missed a day of school, blah, blah, blah. But you know what? I guess people are reacting to this the same way I reacted when I was a ‘lil kid and my older cousin from Brooklyn told me that wrestling was fake. And I’m not talking about this new jack wrestling. I’m talking about that classic wrestling with the Road Warriors, Nikita and Ivan Koloff, The Rock n Roll Express, The 4 Horsemen. And no matter what he said I wouldn’t believe him. In fact, I wanted to fight him for telling me that. And I bet money that that’s how people will react with this Nas hoopla. Not believing it, wanting to fight whoever says that it’s true. Why? Because the same way I REALLY believed that the Four Horsemen jumped Dusty Rhodes in the parking lot and he had to go to the hospital and I had to wait til next Saturday to find out if my hero was gonna be ok is the same way cats don’t wanna believe that their hero, Nas could be a hip hop fraud. The only problem with that is, I was 10 years old when my cousin told me wrestling was fake and I wanted to fight him, not a grown man.

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