Ghostwriting has long been accepted in society. In the 18th century, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ghostwrote music for his affluent benefactors. American author, Tom Clancy’s demand for material is so great that it extends beyond his capability to write everything. So, ghostwriters are hired to meet those requests. Politicians, musicians, and entertainers solicit the services of ghostwriters because they either don’t have the time or the skill to structure a well written piece. The ghostwriting process is usually proceeded by a contractual agreement to pay the ghostwriter a percentage in exchange that they remain anonymous. In these fields, ghostwriters are praised and highly recommended.
In Battle Rap, ghostwriting is forbidden. It defies Hip-Hop’s contextual paradigm of being original and real. Although, in recent years as Hip-Hop has grown increasingly popular, artists have become more openly accepting of ghostwriters. XXL Magazine published an article that featured Hip-Hop’s 10 greatest ghostwriters. Among these were Jay Z, Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Skillz, & Nas. Battle Rap, being the one of the most purest forms of Hip-Hop, clings tightly to its roots of original ideas and concepts that are born out of the mind of the individual. With Battle Rap yet to be dictated by bigbusiness, the concerted input of producers, publicists, marketing and label executives, to meet the deadlines and expectations of a record label are non-existent. Thus, battle rappers aren’t under those kinds of pressures to produce material. They aren’t bound by those rules. They’re free to be artists. They’re afforded the privilege of being original. This is the essence of Hip-Hop. (Side note: I’m not making excuses for artists who use ghostwriters. I’m merely pointing out some factors as to why it works in some fields and is shunned in others)
Earlier this year, KOTD battle rapper Arcane was blasted by Dizaster on URL Battle Rap Arena for having bought bars from Caustic. Arcane’s credibility in Battle Rap is now forever tarnished because of this. Possibly clearing a guilty conscience, Lotta Zay admitted to ghostwriting “all” of Kwanii Kussh’s battles. The news of this was shocking but probably could have been left unsaid. This has started a campaign by some battlers to purge Battle Rap of this shameful impurity.
As long as Battle Rap is true to its roots there will never be tolerance for ghostwriting. Battle Rap does not manufacture talent. You won’t find publicists advising battle rappers on what they should say and how they should say it. Battle Rap does not consist of staff writers who are hired to contribute their talents when needed. Battle Rap is highly competitive and like sports it involves individuals that compete to see who has the better skill. No performance enhancements. Cheating (ghostwriting or ghosting) is not allowed and there is no honor in that.
Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group
Twitter @BttleRapHistory & @SavoyMediaGroup