Yo, Let’s All F**king Relax About This Nas Ghostwriting Sh*tPosted by Nathan S. on 08/14/12 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Nas
If you were to scroll through Twitter today, you'd think video of Ace Hood writing "Triple Beam Dreams" had surfaced. Across my timeline all I see is "The God is dead", "Nas is a fraud" and "Someone probably wrote all of 'Illmatic' too" tweets.
As is so often the case in the interwebs era though, small events get magnified into insane portions. Let's all take a deep breath and go over what actually happened.
1) Some random dude who used to work at Hot 97 wrote that one time Jay Electronica called him and said he was ghostwriting for Nas. We have no idea if random dude is lying about the call, or if Jay Elec was lying when called random dude, or what Elec really meant by "ghostwriting".
2) Dream Hampton decided to chime in and claim that:
First, this isn't the word of God, this is the word of a journalist, and only sweet baby jesus knows how she "knows" that "Untitled" was largely writen by Stic Man and Jay Elec.
And then there's that "largely" word - largely? If you look at the liner notes for "Untitled", Stic is given writing credit for the three tracks he produced, and Jay Elec is given writing credit for the one track he produced (as is standard practice). There's a world of difference between writing an entire album and producers getting writing credit on four tracks.
To recap, two (essentially) random journalists have claimed, without any proof, that maybe Jay Elec and Stic contributed to the writing on "Untitled". The only "proof" I've seen is a lot of folks claiming that "Queens Get the Money" sounds a lot like Jay Elec's writing style. (These claims are usually preceded by some version of "I've listened to more Jay Elec/Nas than anyone ever, so I know...)
Do the archaic rhymes in "Queens Get the Money" sound like something Jay Elec could have written? Yeah, it does, and maybe Elec did write it. Or maybe he and Nas wrote it together, or maybe over the course of days in the studio talking and working on the track Nas just soaked up parts of Elec's style.
It's not like Nas was Plies before this track, it's a pretty short jump from "One Mic" to "Queens Get the Money". It's perfectly reasonable to think that one of the greatest writers to ever live could pretty easily adapt his flow and writing to be influenced by the people around him.
Here's what we do actually know.
Nas has gone on record (before this whole thing exploded) insisting that he's never used a ghostwriter, saying, "You know who's my ghostwriters? My friends, people I meet on the street, the things I read. I hear people say something and I get something from that. I could just be having a conversation...somebody will say something and it will spark something in me. I get it from everybody."
Stic man also responded today, seeming to suggest that the work he did with Nas was a collaboration, not an outright Diddy-esque "Hold on while I sit down and write your verse."
Listen, ghostwriting is as serious of an allegation as you can throw at a rapper, especially one as revered as Nas. I take it seriously, and yes if it was somehow revealed that Nasir was having other folks write entire tracks, let alone albums, for him, that'd be a big fucking deal. I don't want to say I'd be devastated, but it'd be close.
But if we just relax and don't get caught up in all the internet craziness, here's our worst case scenario: Jay Elec wrote a song for Nas one time. If that's the worst case scenario, I can live with that. Some small measure of "did somehow else write this?" will be in the very back of my head when I hear Nas from now on, but right now that small measure is completely unfounded and I'm doing my best to just ignore it.
In other words, at least for now, just fucking relax and keep listening to Nas' music. He's still one of the best to ever do it, and he's done far too much for Twitter rumors to discredit that legacy.
UPDATE: Jay Elec weighs in:
So we've now got all the principle players - Nas, Stic and Jay Elec - saying there was no ghostwriting. Could they all be lying to save the embarrassment of a ghostwriting scandal? Yes, it's technically impossible, but at this point if you chose to believe that Nas used ghostwriters, you're choosing to believe a conspiracy theory.
See Also: Yes, Nas’ “Life is Good” is Hip-Hop’s Newest Classic Album (Album Review)
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