So Nas Might Have Used A Ghostwriter. So What?

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Earlier this week, one tweet and one blog post alleging that Nas had used ghostwriters—specifically, Jay Electronica and stic of Dead Prez—on his 2007 album Untitled. The tweet, by Jay-Z biographer dream hampton, came first; after that, former Hot 97 art director Frank William Miller Jr. (a.k.a. FWMJ) detailed a 2007 phone conversation in which Jay Electronica informed him that he was indeed writing for Nas' controversial Untitled album.

Hardcore rap fans expressed disbelief, weeping, and fury, aiming hundreds of pitchforks at FWMJ's twitter account. How could one of rap's great lyricists relegate himself to using a ghostwriter—the performance-enhancing drug of hip-hop? This is a cardinal sin!

Or is it?

First, let's apply a few caveats to this revelation. hampton's tweet came in response to someone questioning Jay-Z's reluctance to make a scathing political album on the level of Nas' Untitled. (Although Watch The Throne's "hey I'm rich and black and America probably doesn't like that" was a good start.) Hampton is Jay-Z's biographer, so she has a dog in the race. While she's one of the pioneers of hip-hop journalism, she isn't exactly an unbiased defender of Jay in the unending Jay-Z vs. Nas debate. Meanwhile, FWMJ was one of the first guys to mention Jay Electronica and follow his music. So he has a clear desire to support his former pet project.

But these biases are only secondary compared to the biggest red light in the whole story: Jay Electronica. While I have no doubt Jay Electronica made the call, the validity of his claim has to come into question. He's known for making promises and declarations about upcoming projects that never see the light of day, so the phrase "I got a call from Jay Electronica" entering any story calls it into question. In his defense, though, Jay sent out a semi-non-committal tweet about the whole situation, saying "Nas is one of the Greatest Ever. never has and never will need a ghostwriter. that man's pen and legacy is without question." Nas himself, last week , denied ever using a ghostwriter.

And if the denials aren't true... so what?


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