Lupe Fiasco Says Commercialism Has Ruined Hip-Hop, Not Ghostwriting
Over the course of the last several days, the topic of ghostwriting has entered the conversation about Hip-Hop in a very powerful way. As a trending topic across several social-media platforms (due largely to Meek Mill’s public accusation of Drake, who he claims is a used a writer for the recent “R.I.C.O.” single on Meek’s #1 album), the practice of hiring someone to write one’s Rap lyrics has catapulted itself into countless debates, most of which are based on two positions. First, there are many who argue that ghostwriting has no place in Hip-Hop, and that it is an assault to authenticity in a genre largely based on keeping it real. On the other, there are those who put forth the notion that ghostwriting has always been present in Hip-Hop, and that artists who take advantage of the practice are not doing anything unprecedented.
Lupe Fiasco voiced his perspective in a recent two–part Instagram post, which he fittingly titled “The Haunting.” In the two-part open letter, he addresses rappers directly and offers up advice and his personal feelings about the current state of Hip-Hop. “Modern Radio and the commercial realm of music has injured rap. It set up ambiguous rules and systems for success that don’t take into consideration the quality and skill of the rappers craft. It redefined rap as just being a beat driven hook with some words in between and an entire generation has surrendered to chasing the format instead of chasing the art form,” he writes.
That statement followed his words about ghostwriting, which he says “is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large.” Furthermore, he goes on to explain that, from his point of view, the very fact that the current conversation about ghostwriting is so vocal proves that Hip-Hop is thriving. “Meek Mill struck a nerve accusing Drake of having a ghostwriter and the entire Rap world reacted on all sides of the fence because Rap is alive. It’s active and it feels. Its rules and traditions are vibrant and responsive. I enjoy both these brothers music and find inspiration and appreciation from both of them.”
Notably, Lupe Fiasco (a/k/a Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) was a credited writer, along with Rhymefest and others, on Kanye West’s 2013 platinum album, Yeezus, despite not appearing as a featured vocal guest. To date, he has not worked publicly with Drake or Meek Mill.
Whether or not ghostwriting is as prevalent in today’s Hip-Hop as the public conversation of late seems to suggest, it’s evident that the culture continues to attract and fascinate millions. Is there room for ghostwriting in Hip-Hop?