There has been a lot of feelings getting caught in Rap Twitter on the subject of Nas having tracks from the Untitled album ghostwritten for him. Both the Nas Defense Force and the ‘Nas Lost’ Gang have bared their fangs, sharpened their bayonets and started bucking shots like Tony Montana after a face-full of Yayo (no Tony). No one batted an eyelid when Mad Skillz revealed the names of the ‘shiny suit’ era artists he had sold rhymes to on Ghost Writer (Puffy, Mase, Foxy, Will Smith etc.) but the very thought of QB’s ‘Thug Poet’ buying verses from the latest victim of Baduizm is the rap equivalent of telling your four year-old daughter that you’ve just boiled the Easter Bunny in a huge pot for dinner (word to Glenn Close).
Now I’ve thrown more than my fair share of shots at Nas over the years (my most recent musings leading up to the release of Life Is Good even resulted in his mentor Large Professor un-following me on Twitter in disgust), and I was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to pen another suitably ignorant and inflammatory post on Monday. Instead, I thought I’d try something previously unheard of on the internets and actually wait until some facts on this case had come to light.
VIBE magazine spoke to stic.man from Dead Prez directly on the issue, which cleared-up any misconceptions regarding their involvement. “Take We’re Not Alone. That was a beat and hook that I already had for Dead Prez’ Information Age album. He happened to like We’re Not Alone and he wrote verses from his own point of view of what that song was about.” Dream Hampton mentioned having heard, “Whole bars you’d written and performed…spit verbatim by Nas”, in the comments section of stic.man’s original Facebook post, but stic’s squashed that: “Wow. I don’t know what they played you…I’d love to hear what song u are referring to”.
The Jay Electronica situation is a little more open to interpretation, since FWMJ’s original post stated that Jay had called him and specifically informed him that he was ‘ghostwriting’ for the album (specifically Queens Get The Money). Was this a case of Nas using a track that Jay had recorded and writing his own interpretation of it as he did with Dead Prez? Or did he flat-out recite rhymes Jay had penned for him specifically? His ‘official’ statement on the matter was rather vague, stating that “Nas is one of the Greatest Ever. Never has and never will need a ghostwriter. That man’s pen and legacy is without question”. I don’t ‘need’ to get drunk tonight, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to…
Keep up with Robbie Ettelson’s weekly ‘No Country for Old (Rap) Men’ column here.