Just a few months beyond the Twitter beef that shall remain unnamed, dream hampton finds herself at odds with her mentions again. This time, it’s over allegations that Nas uses ghostwriters. She isn’t the only person making the claim. Lyricist and blogger FWMJ also wrote a lengthy post about the time Jay Electronica called him while he worked at Hot 97 and told him he’d be writing lyrics for Nas’s “Queens Get the Money”:
When it’s public knowledge that the ‘greatest lyricist’ of our era, has ghost writers, what does that mean? Like, he has the ability to write crazy raps, but it’s like doping in the Olympics, how can we ever trust the good results again? This ain’t pop music, so it matters if you write your own raps or not. For at least 6 albums, that was the only currency Nas had; his lyrics. How long has he been using ghost writers?
I had an existential crisis that day. I was happy for Jay Elec, but he basically speared a childhood music hero and make a sock puppet out of him.
Both dream and FWMJ have found themselves the targets of some vicious attacks and threats as a result of their claims. Jay Electronica and Stic.man of Dead Prez, who hampton asserts wrote content for Nas’ Untitled/Nigger album, have denied ghostwriting for Nas, citing their contributions as credited collaborations. Nas himself has also weighed in.
Apparently, to assert that a rapper known for his lyrical prowess has gotten outside help with his writing is to discredit his entire oeuvre. So the claims have deeply rankled Nas fans and caused a great deal of online animus.
What do you think? Are the denials of all three lyricists in question enough proof for you? Should ghostwriting be this serious in hip-hop? Why do fans and writers feel it necessary to “out” performers who violate unwritten artistic or social codes?