It doesn’t matter if Drake uses a ghostwriter

Social media’s response to Meek Mill’s accusation that Drake doesn’t write his own lyrics was swift and painless.

Rather than protesting and arguing, rap Twitter immediately confirmed Meek’s claim by spotting a Q. Miller with writing credits all over If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. There was some disbelief and some surprise, but with the receipts presented so quickly, the conversation devolved into hella jokes.

It’s easy to understand why Meek might be a stickler for authenticity, given the hard-dying rumors about rap’s tendency to borrow liberally from Philly rappers. Gillie Da Kid maintains he contributed to Lil Wayne’s rebirth as a lyrical powerhouse while signed to Cash Money in the early 2000s. And one doesn’t need to listen that hard to hear why Jay Z gets accused of biting Young Chris of State Property’s style wholesale (although they at least got signed to Roc-A-Fella for their troubles).

The problem with Meek’s accusation is that If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late sounds like a Drake album. None of the lyrics sound out of place and there’s no distinct stylistic departure from his earlier work. If he had Miller writing for him (which he probably did), Q’s marching orders were to write like Drake. He didn’t hire a ghostwriter as much as he just delegated a task to someone else.

We mulled this same idea over a couple years ago, when dream hampton unceremoniously tweeted that (of dead prez) and Jay Electronica had written parts of Nas’s Untitled. There wasn’t much to corroborate the claim, but even so Untitled sounds like Nas. If there were other writers, their Nas impressions were spot on.

Of course, this is a measure of both of these artists’ clout. Rappers know how to write like Drake and Nas because Drake and Nas developed distinct styles on their own, with their own pen and pad (or Blackberry sidescroll). Several albums deep, do they still have to prove they can write?

But the sanctity is in the mold, not the individual copy: to hate on Drake for having someone else write Drake lyrics would be like hating on Charles Eames for not building every single Eames chair by hand. As long as the builders are credited and compensated, who cares?

Meek’s complaint looks especially minor in a week when the golden eagles came home to roost for one of the rap game’s most egregious line-steppers. While Action Bronson’s talent and creativity were obvious from moment he hit the scene, his generous use of Ghostface’s steelo was as well.

The end goal of a Drake studio session is to make the best Drake album possible. If he knows a sad dude with a knack for writing Drake lyrics, wouldn’t it be in his best interest to get him involved?



Share Tweet