Royce Da 5'9" Says Drake's Use of Ghostwriters Excludes Him From Being Considered a Top Lyricist

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Complex Original

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Slaughterhouse and Bad Meets Evil veteran Royce Da 5'9" stopped by Vlad TV to discuss his experiences with and thoughts on ghostwriting in hip-hop. As a rapper who has been a ghostwriter in the past for Puff Daddy and Dr. Dre, Royce didn't have a problem with the practice overall. He even credited his experience ghostwriting with Puffy for helping him become a better rapper. In terms of his own music, "I choose not to work like that," he explained. "There's a certain fulfillment I get from writing, but I understand it."

He did note, however, that the lack of controversy after Meek Mill released the reference track Drake used for "Rico" surprised him. "For me to look and see the way that everyone reacted to that, that was pretty fucking surprising," he said. The revelation caught him off guard at first, but he looks at it as an evolution of the way hip-hop is created. "When I first heard about it, I was like what? Drizzy not writing? Because he's so fucking dope. But after looking back at it in retrospect, it's a newer way of creating."  

Nonetheless, he believes that the use of ghostwriters does have to be taken into account when you're discussing best lyricists in hip-hop. "The rules do have to change a little bit when you're ranking these artists, where they stand as best lyricists... To me a lyricist is a writer," he said. "You automatically can't be a lyricist if you're not writing everything."

When asked whether that meant Drake should be taken out of the conversation when it comes to best lyricists, he conceded that it did. "It has to," he said. "It's only fair." You can check out his entire interview in the video above to hear more about his thoughts on ghostwriting and his experiences working with Puff Daddy and Dr. Dre.


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