Drake and Meek Mill's beef has ignited numerous hip-hop conversations over the past week. Fans aren't just picking sides, but engaging in real debate over the criteria for top MCs and how writers and other musical contributors should be credited on an album's liner notes.
Writer and underground rapper Quentin Miller, was credited as a writer on Drake tracks like "10 Bands," though he didn't appear on them. Miller wasn't credited on Meek's "R.I.C.O," though a recently released reference track suggests that he had a hand in writing some of Drake's rhymes on that one as well.
Now, curious fans are running back to their favorite albums to see if their top rappers had any pen help. But album credits aren't always clear, so we decided to break down an album credit line-by-line, using Kendrick Lamar's "Poetic Justice" as an example.
The Song TitleInterscope/TDE
The first line on an song credit is pretty simple. Here we have the song title, "Poetic Jutsice" from Kendrick Lamar's 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d. city LP and it's featuring Drake.
Here's where things can be tricky. Performers, songwriters, producers, musicians who worked on the track and anyone who worked on any music that was sampled for "Poetic Justice" will get a writer's credit. This doesn't mean that all these people wrote the words on the song, but they had a hand in writing the music.
The first name we see is K. Duckworth; that's Kendrick Lamar (Lamar is his middle name, Duckworth is his last name). Next is Elijah Molina or Scoop De Ville, the producer of the track; then we have A. Graham -- that's Drake.
The next three names that appear as writers have everything to do with the track that was sampled for "Poetic Justice." J. Harris (Jimmy Jam), J. Jackson (Janet Jackson) and T. Lewis (Terry Lewis) all have a writer's credit on Janet's 1993 single "Any Time, Any Place," so they negotiated a writing credit on Kendrick's rework of their original composition.
Every songwriter should have a music publisher which is responsible for getting them paid for the work they do. Here you will find each writer's separate publishing info.
Production, Recording And Mixing InfoInterscope/TDE
"Poetic Justice" was produced by Scoop De Ville (E. Molina), it was recorded at TDE's studio in Carson, California and Derek "MixedByAli" Ali was the recording engineer on the night K. Dot recorded this one.
The track was mixed by Dr. Dre and Ali.
Here is where an artist will normally declare any samples that they used. J. Jackson, J. Harris and T. Lewis are all credited as the original writers of "Any Time, Any Place," which in turn gets them writing credit on "Poetic Justice."
Drake and Kendrick Lamar could go to the studio and cut 100 records if they like; but the reality is both rappers are signed to separate record deals, so their respective companies have to agree on the collaboration as well.
This line basically says that Aspire, Young Money and Cash Money (the three companies that own rights to Drake) all agree to let their artist appear on Kendrick's record.
Now, every artist and label styles their album credits differently. There's no one way to do it, but things should be a little clearer for anyone that was confused now.