On Meek Mill, Drake & Ghostwriting

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Last night, after about a week and a half, Meek Mill finally responded to Drake with an actual diss track. Most of the reactions that I’ve seen within the last 12 hours or so seem to indicate that Meek has lost this first round. Personally, I was super underwhelmed by “Wanna Know”, a rambling diss track over an ominous production by Jahlil Beats and Swizz Beatz on which Meek seemed more concerned with showcasing his flow then going for Drake’s jugular. To me, an effective diss needs to lay out clear shots that connect immediately with listeners. About a minute into this song I knew this wasn’t it. It also didn’t help that the track arrived nearly two hours after it was supposed to, hyped up by Flex and Meek’s shooters as an undeniable kill shot.

The diss relies heavily on the accusation that Drake utilized a ghostwriter, relative unknown Quentin Miller, for many of the most popular tracks on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. It features samples from a reference track for “Know Yourself” that leaked minutes before Meek’s response showed up. In the aftermath Meek, his camp and his most vocal supporters seem pretty incredulous as to why the general public hasn’t accepted this as the “Ether” they clearly thought it was. What they failed to consider is many of Drake’s supporters could care less if he uses a ghostwriter. Meek basically tried to turn a battle with an international pop star into a referendum on lyrical integrity.

I’m from the era where ghostwritten verses were a big no-no. In my opinion, it’s incredibly important that an MC write the words they put forth on records and this will always be the case. But things are different now. Many of the MCs we consider iconic have been revealed to have used ghostwriters at one time or another, including Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Dr. Dre. We’ve mostly accepted this as fact and recategorized these artists into a separate class that still recognizes them as the legends they are, but which also places a big asterisk next to their names.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t troubled by those Drake reference tracks. But at the same time, I have to view them with a skeptical eye. I only know that’s Quentin Miller on those songs because Meek and Flex say it is. I wouldn’t have known Quentin Miller’s voice from the random rapper on Youtube and I still don’t think I could identify it out of context if I had to. For all I know, that could be Meek’s little homie from Philly repeating Drake’s bars.

But honestly, I don’t think that’s the case. While he acknowledged that they collaborated on IYRTITL, and he is in fact credited as a writer on some songs, Miller has denied he writes verses for Drake. It might have been some hooks, it may have been a bar here or there, or maybe what Meek is suggesting is true and he did pen full verses. We’ll probably never know the full extent of his contributions and honestly I’m fine with that. I have no problem recategorizing Drake with Kanye, Dre and Snoop, and I suspect he would be fine existing in that company for the rest of his career.

Additionally, there’s something to be said for artists who have the ability to do what Drake does. Kanye does it. Diddy built an empire on it. This is the ability to orchestrate amazing songs that turn into hits. They might take a hook from one writer, a theme from another guy and work with a few different producers along the way to craft an end product that connects with millions of people. It’s more executive producer than traditional MC as we’ve come to know that role, but it’s not easy and it’s not a talent everybody possesses. Certainly not most MCs.

Assuming anybody has ever actually penned verses for Drake, I think that would put him firmly in the column Kanye currently sits atop. We know Kanye can write and I don’t believe for a second that anybody other than him and Drake wrote the majority of the verses that make up their respective catalogs. But Ye’s real genius lies in his ear for hits and attention to detail.

If I’m keeping it 100, I respect the hell out of Meek for his convictions on this subject. I completely understand where he’s coming from, I just feel like it doesn’t matter at this point. The market has spoken, and the market doesn’t care if Drake writes every single bar. It just doesn’t seem like the current generation of listeners has any fucks to spare on the topic, and even folks from my generation who like the kid from Toronto seem mostly unphased, happy to recategorize him as described above and keep it moving.

Where we stand now is, Drake’s “Back To Back” and the accompanying roll-out were just more entertaining than what Meek did. And that’s fine. Meek can still put out more records or take subliminal shots or whatever he feels he needs to do. There were a dozen funny, embarrasing things he could’ve said on that diss but he put all of his money on the ghostwriting angle and the dice didn’t fall in his favor.

Previously: Meek Mill – Wanna Know (Drake Diss) | Drake – Back To Back (Meek Mill Diss)


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24 Responses to “On Meek Mill, Drake & Ghostwriting”

  1. Daveyandy Says:

    Drake has always been able to rap and no one can deny it. There’s a difference between the songs he got help from Miller on IYRTITL and having an actual ghost writer. If there was evidence that Drake didn’t write his actual verses on songs like Lord Knows, 6am in Dallas or light up than I would be more comfortable reclassifying him with Ye and Dre but until then, I still consider him an MC who can out rap Meek any day.

  2. Chepe Says:

    Right on target.

  3. Grey Says:

    The songs that they say were ghostwritten aren’t particularly those I would draw as examples of drakes lyrical potential. Drake for me is a new archetype in hiphop and I don’t feel his radio records or these ghostwritten songs compromise his integrity as a mc.

  4. thebadguy_88 Says:

    I was curious about the topic of drake and using ghost writers and decided to comb through his credits, something piqued my interest.

    On his second and third cd’s (take care and nothing was the same) there’s one guy listed under writer credits for all of his rap songs. But only his rap songs. This doesn’t make any sense.

    Usually artist give credit to themselves, the producer at times, and on occasion instrumentalists and if they sampled a song, the writer or writers of said sampled song. This guy doesn’t fall under any of those categories.

    The guys name is ANTHONY PALMAN. I believe he also goes by the name hush (which would be appropriate if he’s ghost written for drake). Now why would he only be credited on his rap songs, and not the r&b ones? Why does he disappear when Q.MILLER starts pop up?

    If it’s drakes man why isn’t he on all the songs? And again why is he only on drakes RAP songs, or songs where he spits a verse?

    I’m not old by any stretch of the imagination. I’m in my mid 20s so I don’t thinks it’s a old vs young thing. But I feel it’s very important in rap for your verses to be from you to the listeners. rap more than other forms of music is you letting the world into your own personal art gallery. How can you put your name on top of these 14-15 paintings and they not be yours?

    I understand 1-2 songs where you vibing with a respected person and you start bars and they say hey put this here and you like “word that’s dope” and you two take a collaborative approach to a verse or two. But what I’m starting to suspect is that is a serial thing with drake. And the scariest part of it all is that it seems like most people don’t care.

  5. Istax Says:

    Well written, this is very accurate especially to how I personally feel. Meek was very meek with his diss. Drake basically spoke things the worlds sees, no one saw anything meek is referencing and honestly people don’t care or give a fuck about Quentin Miller. Drake is clearly a mastermind for the things he has presented this week. Sending bottles to Charlemagne, making shit hella interesting. Loved it

  6. LOL Says:

    Nobody cares because nothing has really been proven.

    1. QM got official writers credit. Why would drake put a ‘ghostwriter’ in his liner notes?
    2. QM’s music isn’t very significant. It might be a different story if it was.
    3. All these leaked ‘reference’ tracks have been hooks not verses.
    4. Having ready made hooks is no different than what your average super producer has done for years for rappers. Pharrell,Swizz,kayne etc all have made beats with a hook and had rappers fill in the blank. This is identical to that.
    5. I believe reference tracks have been released before but they never made it to a drake official release. Eg west district/ days in the east.

    Essentially drake is an artist. Meek mill is a rappity rapper. That’s ok tho. It works for ppl like Nas.

  7. Henan Siles Says:

    We cant forget the fact that Drake wrote excelent and entire songs for stars like Jammie Fox and Alicia Keys.
    Meek accept 3 songs finished, add his verse and put on his album. R.I.C.O, Jump Out The Face and Pullin Up were others rappers/singers songs. He didnt bring the concept, producers, etc… he can’t talk too much.

  8. Kingcarcosa Says:

    Another dick suck from another kiss ass blogger yo dog how does Drake’s ass taste? If hova wouldve dropped a reference track for Nas’s hate me now. You wouldve crucified nas. But here it’s all an appeasement….. Niggas just want they champagne too. Foh

  9. keystone Says:

    The writer of this piece and the commenters above, are what is wrong with hip hop. Its a sad day. Since when did being a fraud become cool? Since when did compromising your integrity become cool? This is the exact reason why hip hop is saturated with wack artist. If you call someone wack you’re a hater. Its the everyone gets a trophy mentality. In a battle facts should always trump comic relief. Why? Because, the truth is tangible, it cuts deep. Personally, prior to this battle, i was more of a drake fan. I have all his albums. As of yesterday i have dwmtm, only because it was gifted to me. And, im from philly. However, after the recent developments i cant rock wit drake anymore. How are you going to have someone else write a verse about YOUR hood and then spit it. Thats corny as shit!! It says alot about YOU, if you rock with an exposed fraud. Keep runnin through the six with your GHOST!!!!!!

  10. Iceberg 5lim Says:

    1) What exactly does everyone think we are supposed to do about the ghostwriter allegations? Drake has been getting dragged on social media like he has been numerous times. What else do yall want? A boycott? A national declaration of Drake music deletion? Mass suicide?

    2) Numerous respectable MCs in the past have been accused or known to have had verses or songs written for them. Prolly not anyone in Top 5 contention, but guess what? Drake aint even in that conversation. Just like yall mention Snoop, he’s still a legend even with the knock his rep has taken. And just like Snoop, Drake’s body of work shows what he is capable of.

    3) Meek is benefiting from this same “new generation” Drake is: 3a) Meek is signed to arguably the fakest human on earth. So if Ross hath been forgiven than Drake can too. 3b) Meek is a mediocre rapper yet managed to get a number one album 3c) Meek stays catching feeling on social media 3d) some people are actually giving him a do over. What part of the game is that?

    4) Maybe folks are ignoring the reference tracks cuz they honestly don’t sound hot without Drake

    5) Why is B2B being compared to Ether? Like Nas aint one of the GOATs and it’s just that easy to replicate what he did. GTFOH

  11. Rna3434 Says:

    I respect meek but he has to drop the second part of the song regardless. What people don’t realize is he took it back to the old flex and clue mixtapes.only problem people don’t want to wait and anticipate music anymore in that format.Drake was cool but meek dropped facts yet people justify alot just so they can have a good time or take on responsiblity.Meek should have dropped part two first cause that beat is crazy. It’s a business but drake using that many reference tracks and there not even complicated song structures to even come close to justifying another guy rapping can’t get a pass and wouldn’t in the 90s.Til Meek drops the second half it’s still 1-0.

  12. King James Says:

    Quentin Miller = b’s voice lol

  13. Qhazi Says:

    There has always been a ton of suspicion surrounding Drake, Nikki, and lil Wayne for that matter, and their writing their own lyrics. Yes the entertainment value is present, and consumers should not oust them for the point of them providing quality entertainment. But the fact of the matter is some part of Hip Hop has to stay true to authentic tenets. We need drake as a draw for Consumers, but we need Meek, J. Cole, and Kendrick to tell a REAL story of who and where we are. When the country is pulling a “Don Imus” I’m not sure that I want Drake being Hip Hop’s responder. Being entertaining is great but being Jay-Z is better (Real and Entertaining). Hip Hop, like punk, folk, country, etc. has to maintain a thread authenticity in order to be able to call out ills. We can value things that are not exclusively substantive, because people aren’t wholly substantive, let’s not get carried too far away from understanding that fake shit can’t be the thing the edges out truth.

  14. Qhazi Says:

    ….oh, and art can still be used to inspire. Drake inspires for his will, confidence, etc. But saying things like “I pray that the fake get exposed” in a song where you may have had someone write your verses….there’s just too much posturing potentially going on there.

  15. Yo Momma Says:

    Faggot Bitch Rap FTW

  16. Rob Says:

    Thank me later http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_7ZzPYtOrc

  17. isaidyo_ Says:

    i’ll preface by saying 1things for sure 2 for certain.. I rarely if ever comment and or give an opinion, ever, but this piece was so well stated i had to my add my 2$ents and its the reason Nahright has been the 1st outlet i visit when catching up with rap/hiphop world, since ’06 ’07…anyway.. I been a fan of rap, religiously, since ’94 ’95..that said, I’ve always kept my ear to “street rap” and the art/culture out of Philly from MF, SP, CosmicKev Batcave and WeAreTheStreets freestyles etc..(not to mention more industry established artist like BlackThought& Philly coverage from SMACKdvd), but in that world Drizzy wouldn’t stand a chance; Too much pain & passion come from those rhymes.. so when Meek jumped out the window and pretty much dry snitched on the boi… it str8 came off as a Publicity stunt at first and in that particular bbc interview w/charlie sloth, he even looked out of character..especially coming off a skid bid fast forward and his responses to charged up via social media dont seem like they real or something a g out of philly would do and that ‘wanna know’ jawn was weak af.. i had a point and lost it out of distraction my girl doing dishes b.a.n but something aint right about this and wonder what them ol’heads would say. i know harold lederman has drizzy winning 2 rounds, shit i do.. and Pusha T in my top 10..either way im tryna find irony from Jay-Z verse on Light up here, someone help>>?

  18. Marcus Says:

    As a deep rap fan I’m disappointed entirely from the fact Drake used a writer and even more that my generation don’t care. But as Eskay and Charlamagne said before, they don’t care. It’s gonna be about, quotables, turning up, gettin high/drunk, bitches and flexing.

    The main reason why I had such a big problem with it is just that, besides the writing issue, this can hurt hip hop. If I’m an upcoming dude, rapper or his team, tryna get hot or blow, the future j coles, kendricks or Drake can follow a drake’s moves to do that same formula and write hot lines and bars to put himself in that category he don’t deserve, There for making later rapper’s even more lazyand wack with they shit.

    But even me as a producer and understanding the market, I get it, they just don’t care anymore. There’s casual fans, there’s real rap fans, and the mainstream ones just wana do the things I mentioned before. It’s sad to me but, it’s a business. Where ever the money at, where the honey go

  19. Prudence Bindlestiff Says:

    Wait, Snoop Dogg used a ghostwriter? When? And how was this confirmed?

  20. De Says:

    Completely agree but I would add that the difference with Kayne, Dre, Snoop, and Diddy is that they admitted it. Drake presented himself as a lyricist. There are reference tracks that no one has denied or disputed. This is similar to Rick Ross lying until he was forced to admit his past. Og… said it’s tough going against six but only compared to one. Another thing many media articles are dismissing ghostwriting as no big deal, maybe for other types but hip-hop has always stood on lyrical integrity and I’m pissed this aspect is losing its importance.

  21. De Says:

    Snoop used a writer for the sensual seduction period.

  22. King James Says:

    Damn all these new niggas

    Rip nahright

  23. Andrew King Says:

    http://pitchfork.com/news/55924-drake-pays-100000-to-rappin-4-tay-for-ripping-off-playaz-club-lyrics-on-ygs-who-do-you-love/

  24. question Says:

    I think Skillz needs to speak up, shit he wrote all of diddys shit for years. Its funny bc no one sees diddy as a MC or would care if they found out about skillz……Just saying

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