Does it Matter if Rappers Don’t Write Their Own Lyrics?
Paul Cantor
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There is a long tradition of disbelieving authenticity in the writings of African-Americans, dating back to discussions of fictionalizing and embellishing in slave narratives. Musically, we all know songs are written in collaboration in many genres, and have been for centuries. In rap, there’s much about autobiographical authenticity, so it’s a thing. Does it matter in Kanye’s case? I don’t know. But Kendrick Lamar insists on it in his own work. Rakim always wrote “real,” and KRS-One, Chuck D, these guys did too. I guess it only matters when a rapper pushes authenticity and is shown to be false. It certainly doesn’t matter in the pop marketplace.

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