XXL Presents... Hip-Hop's 10 Greatest Ghostwriters

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 02-11-2013, 11:01 AM         #1
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3rdcoasta 
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XXL Presents... Hip-Hop's 10 Greatest Ghostwriters
 

 
Allegations that stic. man and Jay Eletronica contributed some writing to Nas’ Untitled LP has added another chapter to hip-hop’s never-ending ghostwriting saga. Though initially billed as a cardinal sin, it’s been prevalent in hip-hop from the start. Grandmaster Caz famously penned lyrics on The Sugarhill Gang and Big Daddy Kane earned stripes for writing half of Biz Markie’s debut, Going Off, including classics cuts like “Vapors” and “Biz Is Going Off.”

Over the years ghostwriting has become somewhat acceptable when provided for non-traditional rappers. Clearly, moguls like Diddy and Jermaine Dupri were too busy closing deals and producing to write for themselves, so their use of writers-for-hire was tolerated. It’s what’s made the Nas claims so controversial. Under no circumstances should such a prolific wordsmith lean on any kind of lyrical aid.

It's important to point out that the extent of stic. man and Jay Elec's alleged writing is still unclear. Both spoke up in Nas' defense, but their response wasn't explicit enough to put the issue to bed. It's pretty common for MCs to borrow a line or two from time to time. Could this be the case? Cormega's been on record saying that he lent Nas his famous, "I'll be flooded with ice so hell fire can't scorch me," on The Firm's "Affirmative Action." The rest of nasty's verse was all his.

For now, Esco's alleged ghostwriting fiasco remains a mystery. What has been confirmed, however, is that God's Son has historically been a.ssisting other rappers. He’s written for Dr. Dre, Will Smith and Diddy, and God knows who else isn’t on record. Plenty more MCs have serviced their bars for cash over the years. On the heels of this on going issue, XXL presents Hip-Hop’s 10 Greatest Ghostwriters.—XXL Staff (@XXL)



10. Royce da 5'9" (Tie)
Known Clients: Dr. Dre, Diddy
Nickel-Nine infamously contributed to Dr. Dre’s 2001 album (“The Message”), but his manager violated the first rule of ghostwriting: thou shall not speak. The Detroit MC’s behind-the-scenes man blabbed to the media and the good doctor quickly rebuked their pass to the land of D-R-E. Despite the hiccup, Diddy later hired Royce for his poison pen. There's been murmurs that Royce will be contributing to Detox as well.


10. Rick Ross (Tie)
Known Clients: Trina, Diddy, Dr. Dre
Ricky Rozay’s resume includes gold albums, crew construction and block bangers. But before Ross became the Bawse, he was the employee: double R wrote rhymes for his former label-mate, Trina, and rumors about that the Miami MC put in work for Trick Daddy. Although he didn’t exactly deliver his, Ross’ work helped launch Slip-N-Slide into the mainstream. Who knows nann now?image


9. Grandmaster Caz
Known Clients: Sugarhill Gang
He may not possess a litany of credits, but Caz, undoubtedly, has the ghostwriting credit—he penned the rhymes behind hip-hop’s first breakout hit, “Rapper’s Delight.” Technically, GMC didn’t ghostwrite since his book of rhymes was stolen. However, years later he received the acknowledgement he long deserved.


8. Sauce Money
Known Clients: Diddy
Sauce Muthafu-kin’ is an MC with bars sharper than Ludacris’ hairline. The one-time Jay-Z cronie took ghostwriting efforts to new heights when the crafty wordsmith won a Grammy for penning Diddy’s tribute to his fallen friend, B.I.G, “We’ll Be Missing You.” It’s a feat unmatched, still.


7. Big Daddy Kane
Known Clients: Biz Markie
King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal was suave on the mic, but the Brooklyn MC was also devastating with a pen. Kane crafted classics for himself, but he also increased the value of his Juice Crew brethren Biz Markie’s catalog. “Vapors” was one of the few gifted Biz’s way from BDK.



6. Nas
Known Clients: Will Smith, Dr. Dre, Diddy, Foxy Brown, Jermaine Dupri
Despite being embroiled in a controversy this past week over allegations that he, himself, used ghostwriters on his Untitled album, Nas has a history of penning hits for others, most notably his former labelmate, Will Smith. The Queens poet put in writing duties for Smith on the Tinsel Town titan’s Big Willie Style album, contributing “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It,” “Miami” and more. He also put in work for Dr. Dre (“Watcher”), Diddy (“I Need A Girl”), Foxy Brown and Jermaine Dupri. Whether he needed help to be more radical or not, one thing’s certain: Esco is more than able to cover that fly sh-t.




5. The Notorious B.I.G.
Known Clients: Lil' Kim, Lil Cease, Diddy
Biggie didn’t keep his twisted genius all to himself. He shared some with Lil’ Kim too. It’s best exemplified on Kim’s classic debut, Hard Core. Big ’s contributions weren’t always officially credited, but his being Kim’s mouthpiece was public knowledge. Kim’s “Queen bi-ch” reference track would later surface. Hearing Big Poppa rhyming, “Got buffoons eating my pus-y while I watch cartoons” was priceless. And Kim, delivered it flawlessly. The Black Frank White would also write for Lil’ Cease and Diddy, but nothing comes close to the blueprint he’s laid for Kim’s legendary career.



4. Jay-Z
Known Clients: Memphis Bleek, Foxy Brown, Dr. Dre
Jay-Z’s ‘96 debut, Reasonable Doubt may not have struck platinum until much later, but the God MC earned a plaque that same year for his writing contributions to Foxy Brown’s Ill Na Na. He’d previously written for Fox on RD’s “Ain’t No n*gga” and penned Memphis Bleek’s verse on “Coming of Age.” He arguably topped himself when he ghostwrote Dr. Dre’s “Still Dre” three years later. Not only did Jigga Man pen from Dre’s perspective as if the Good Doctor wrote it himself, Brooklyn’s own captured West Coast life as if he was bred in Compton. Only a select few have been fortunate enough to benefit from Mr. Carter’s pen. He doesn't share his sharp bars anymore—that we know of—but for the right price he can certainly still make your sh-t tighterimage



3. Ice Cube
Known Clients: N.W.A
Eazy-E may have been the mastermind behind N.W.A, but Cube’s lyrics are the reason the influential Los Angeles group became known as the world’s most dangerous group. In addition to writing his own rhymes, Cube shared ghostwriting duties throughout the Panic Zone EP and Straight Outta Compton—at times writing for Eazy, Dre and even MC Ren. Yea, yay!



2. The D.O.C.
Known Clients: N.W.A., Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg
The D.O.C. was off to a fast start until he got into a near fatal car accident that damaged his vocal chords. The crash happened only months after the Dallas MC’s certified platinum debut, No One Can Do It Better, hit stores. He reinvented himself as a ghostwrite who contributed lyrics to N.W.A. LPs post Ice Cube and later Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s early work. He’s still part of Dre’s pen team to this day.image


1. Skillz
Known Clients: Diddy, Ma$e, Foxy Brown, Jermaine Dupri, Will Smith, Willow Smith
Most MCs on the list have occasionally been writers-for-hire, but Skillz—in addition to D.O.C.— is one of hip-hop's true career ghostwriters. There's no denying his own catalog as an MC. The Virgina lyricist has five albums to his credit. But no other MC has written for such a lengthy and diverse list of clients. He even documented his feat on the controversial 2000 single, "Ghostwriter.” On the song, Skillz puts several of his high profile clients on blast—some for failing to compensate him. His label at the time, Rawkus Records, edited the names out. Though he would later perform the first verse uncensored—revealing that Jermaine Dupri, Diddy and shockingly Ma$e, had previously procured his services. It’s no secret that hip-hop’s very first crossover hit—The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight—was ghostwritten, but Skillz’s revealing cut shed light on how common the once taboo practice had become. Skillz more recently added Willow Smith to his resume and he’s maintain a close working relationship with her dad, Will, over the years. Skillz may never put the song back out with the names in it as promised, but his confirmed client list is enough to certify him as the greatest ghostwriters to ever do it.image




[pic - click to view]

 XXL Presents... Hip-Hop's 10 Greatest Ghostwriters [Poll] - XXL


Surprised about skillz and royce...lol at dr dre and diddy's non rappin a.ss ninja's.

62 comments for "XXL Presents... Hip-Hop's 10 Greatest Ghostwriters"

 5 years ago '05        #2
ogballer32 401 heat pts401
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$4,980 | Props total: 2553 2553
So most of these people wrote for diddy


Diddy droppin classic bars
 5 years ago '10        #3
ReelCeasar 182 heat pts182
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lol Diddy got no bars
 5 years ago '06        #4
coolio 57 heat pts57
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$18,375 | Props total: 9 9
"As soon as I started ghostwritin everybody started gettin signed overnight"

joey da don budden

known clients: 2pac, Jay-Z, Rakim, Eminem, the industry's top 50 goats, etc...
 02-11-2013, 11:24 AM         #5
Satire  OP
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Why do I find it hard to believe that Ma$e had people ghostwrite for him? I remember a thread a while back showing a TON of songs that he wrote
 5 years ago '12        #6
OldBusiness 163 heat pts163
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$21,067 | Props total: 17329 17329
Not really surprised about Skillz....Was a long tenured member on flavatown aka danjazone.com.....the site for his old rap group

Hes on that forum and so are the members of his group/crew....They talked about all that + a whole lot more over the years. Dude was k!lling that writing sh*t
 5 years ago '05        #7
Gremlin 1095 heat pts1095
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[video - click to view]



Sure, for stacks, n*gga, I make your act bigger
But fu*k Jermaine Dupri and his whole label cause I ain't never get my plaque, n*gga
Jadakiss told y'all cats and that's that
Y'all have a ASCAP or get your a.ss capped

I wrote that sh*t five minutes in a parking lot
I'm the one that your man Ma$e had to go and get
Cause he smoked too much lye, couldn't write his own sh*t
Now Will Smith A&R, he on my answering machine sick
Hollaring in my phone, "Skillz, can you write to this?"

First of all, I ain't even want to make this sh*t
There's a lot of rap cats out here faking the sh*t
I'm a ghostwriter, I'm the cat that you don't see
I write hits for rappers you like and charge 'em a fee
Yo don't get me wrong dog, it's the cheddar that counts
But fu*k Puff Daddy cause his fu*king check bounced
 5 years ago '09        #8
trock34 93 heat pts93
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$25,170 | Props total: 7350 7350
Cons lost again
 02-11-2013, 01:39 PM         #9
3rdcoasta  OP
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 Gremlin said:



Sure, for stacks, n*gga, I make your act bigger
But fu*k Jermaine Dupri and his whole label cause I ain't never get my plaque, n*gga
Jadakiss told y'all cats and that's that
Y'all have a ASCAP or get your a.ss capped

I wrote that sh*t five minutes in a parking lot
I'm the one that your man Ma$e had to go and get
Cause he smoked too much lye, couldn't write his own sh*t
Now Will Smith A&R, he on my answering machine sick
Hollaring in my phone, "Skillz, can you write to this?"

First of all, I ain't even want to make this sh*t
There's a lot of rap cats out here faking the sh*t
I'm a ghostwriter, I'm the cat that you don't see
I write hits for rappers you like and charge 'em a fee
Yo don't get me wrong dog, it's the cheddar that counts
But fu*k Puff Daddy cause his fu*king check bounced
DAYUM!!!! Skillz went in on them n*ggas....
 5 years ago '05        #10
rashcobar 14 heat pts14
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Wow...that was actually pretty interesting.
 5 years ago '05        #11
rashcobar 14 heat pts14
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$11,829 | Props total: 3441 3441
 Crookz said:
Bad boy had sort of a brain trust when it came to writing songs. They had lots of great mc's who would bless eachother from time to time.

What's should be harder for u to believe is that mase wrote for biggie
did he?
 5 years ago '04        #12
gimmethat 1 heat pts
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c´mon son ...add cons and Red cafe
 5 years ago '04        #13
Kiss The Stick 1 heat pts
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Biz had a ghostwriter??
 02-11-2013, 03:19 PM         #14
Satire  OP
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 Crookz said:
Bad boy had sort of a brain trust when it came to writing songs. They had lots of great mc's who would bless eachother from time to time.

What's should be harder for u to believe is that mase wrote for biggie
Yep I remember that being in the thread I was talking about, he wrote like 2 or 3 songs for him
 02-11-2013, 03:28 PM         #15
Minister  OP
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 Crookz said:
Bad boy had sort of a brain trust when it came to writing songs. They had lots of great mc's who would bless eachother from time to time.

What's should be harder for u to believe is that mase wrote for biggie
same with "good" music
 5 years ago '04        #16
Young Hov 2 heat pts
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lol @ the lames sayin cons... if you think cons wrote a full 16 for kanye i got a bridge to sell you
 5 years ago '05        #17
StateProperty88 34 heat pts34
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playing "miami" in my head and yeah i can hear nas all over it
 5 years ago '05        #18
Str8 outta Cuse 5 heat pts
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Just as I thought, females can't think of their own lyrics

95% of song writers, movie and television writers, movie and television producers, directors, and music producers are men.

Women are creatively disabled
 02-11-2013, 09:47 PM         #19
fcb10  OP
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i wanna battle diddy lol
 5 years ago '05        #20
WCIB 111 heat pts111
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What songs did mase write for biggie.
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