Lupe Fiasco. How fortunate one must be to be old enough to possess the wisdom of a veteran artist but still young enough to make a viable impact. The Chicago-bred–true school MC–has always maintained a levelheaded opinion basis when speaking out issues and this was fully exemplified when he commented on the ongoing Drake and Meek Mill beef.
As he’s known to do, Lupe opened up his Instagram tablet to allow his digital quill do the talking for a two-part, 800-word manifesto cleverly titled “The Haunting.” (Get it? Haunting…ghostwriting…boogity boogity.)
Instead of swaying on a particular stance or coloring the clear trail left by Meek Mill’s ether stench aimed at his presumed homie, Lupe expounded on the history of the culture and how one particular recording method doesn’t necessarily an artist superior than the next. However, there are still levels present when measuring the quality of an MC.
“Ghostwriting, or borrowing lines, or taking suggestions from the room has always been in rap and will always be in rap,” he began. “It is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large.”
Lupe also touched on how the industry’s business model doesn’t work in Hip-Hop’s favor; making it understandable for an artist to feel the need to find any leverage possible in hopes of banging out a hit. It’s a catch-22 situation the Lupester knows all to well as his most succesful album with 2011’s Lasers just happens to be his most critically panned amongst his diehard fans.
“Modern Radio and the commercial realm of music has injured rap,” he continued. “It set up ambiguous rules and systems for success that don’t take into consideration the quality and skill of the rappers craft. It redefined rap as just being a beat driven hook with some words in between and an entire generation has surrendered to chasing the format instead of chasing the art form.”
Read part one of “The Haunting” below and the continuation on the next page. And prepare to be impressed.
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The Haunting. A Letter Part 1 of 2 To rappers from a rapper…simply write your own rhymes as much as you can if you are able. Ghostwriting, or borrowing lines, or taking suggestions from the room has always been in rap and will always be in rap. It is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large. Then we might have a problem. Some of the most pivotal moments in rap have been ghostwritten verses. This leads to a bigger point. Rapping is not an easy thing to do. It's takes years of work and trial and error to master some of its finer points. Respect from other MC's comes in many formats. Sales, live performances, realness etc but the one thing that is the most important is the raps themselves at least in the eyes of other serious rappers. The phrase "I'm not a rapper" gets thrown around as if it's a badge of honor. And that's fine. If rap is a side hustle for you or just a come up then by all means may the force be with you. But I know a lot of MC's where rap is the first love and the first thing they think about when they wake up and the last thing they think about when they go to sleep. Rappers who pursue the art form with this level of intention may not become rich and famous off selling their raps to a wide audience but that has never been an accepted metric to begin with in terms of quality or level of skill. The vast majority of rappers will never sell 100 records in their lifetimes let alone millions. But that's not the point, the point is that what pursuing the craft gives us in terms of the intangibles is something that record sales or fame could never represent. We achieve a mastery of language and poetics that competes on the highest levels of discourse across the entirety of human history. We express ourselves creatively and attain a sense of liberation and self-esteem via this sacred mode of creation and communication.