What does an iconic ghostwriter think about ghostwriting in hip-hop? We asked Ice Cube to find out.
In case you didn't know, the legendary rapper has written hit songs for other MCs, including Eazy-E. In fact, the upcoming N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton" features a scene where Eazy tries to rap lyrics that the Don Mega wrote for "Boyz-N-The-Hood."
With Meek Mill's allegations that Drake doesn't pen his own lyrics, this topic has become a hot one of late. So, we asked Cube what he thinks about ghostwriting in the rap game today.
"Ghostwriting is a part of music," the Amerikkka's Most Wanted spitter told us during an interview on Friday (July 31) at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. "It’s been a part of music since music has been able to be recorded and probably before that.
"As far as a purist in hip-hop? I’m not a fan of it," he continued. "I respect rappers more when they write their own lyrics. But as far as making a song, anybody can put a song together. It don’t matter how it come together. All that matters is what’s coming out the speaker. So, as far as making music and making records, it don’t matter who write it. As far as MCing and being a rapper, you should write your own stuff."
Cube isn't just an expert in the art of ghostwriting. He's also a master of the dis tracks. Fans will get a chance to see some of this in "Straight Outta Compton," which features the Don Mega's "No Vaseline" counter attack to N.W.A's "Real N---az." "No Vaseline" is often regarded as one of the most vicious rap disses of all time. So, we asked Ice to tell us what an artist needs to keep in mind if they ever enter a rap battle like the one Drake and Meek are engaged in.
"Go for the jugular," Cube - who also dissed Common on 1995's "Westside Slaughterhouse" and Cypress Hill on 1996's "King of the Hill - advised. "You can’t play with it. Don’t dance around it. Don’t be scared to say what you know you need to say. Go for it.
"It’s fun when it’s on wax," he added. "Everybody gets involved. Everybody got their debate. As long as it don’t move to the streets. That ain’t rap. That’s criminal right there That’s hood shit. As long as it stays on wax, it’s hip-hop and it’s fun. It’s a cool way feud a little bit."
"Straight Outta Compton" is set to hit theaters August 14. Cube is also slated to appear on Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre, an effort scheduled to be released August 7 exclusively through Apple.