Halfway through Frank Ocean’s long-awaited album, Blonde, listeners encounter something unexpected. André 3000 emerges from hiding and delivers a short, yet magnificent verse on the one-minute song, “Solo (Reprise).”
The verse finds André 3000 sharing random thoughts on police killing kids, remaining a nonconformist when it comes to trends, and plastic surgery. But one of the most poignant lyrics featured his thoughts on rappers who use ghostwriters.
“After 20 years in, I’m so naive I was under the impression that everyone wrote they own verses, it’s coming back different and yea that s— hurts me, I’m humin’ and whistlin’ to those not deserving, I’ve stumbled and lived every word, was I working just very hard,” André 3000 rapped.
The lyric possibly is a subtle shot at Drake, who is arguably the most noted rapper to use ghostwriters in recent times. Drake’s use of ghostwriters was at the forefront during his rap battle with Meek Mill. Meek claimed that Quentin Miller wrote Drake’s verses. Although most people viewed Drake as the winner in his rap battle against Meek, some hip-hop purists were turned off by the possibility of the Toronto rapper using others to write his rhymes. Most rap songs are usually based on a personal narrative and rappers who use a ghostwriter can be considered duplicitous.
But while André 3000 could be appalled by Drake and others rappers who use ghostwriters, top-selling rap artists such Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy, and Jermaine Dupri have all used ghostwriters. The names on that list are all music producers who rap mostly to brand themselves. When it comes to artists who are viewed as true emcees, using ghostwriters is still consider taboo.
Below are a few responses from social media:
Andre 3000 threw shots at Drake? Damn Welp, guess I don’t like Drake anymore…
— Brandon Guerra (@Bigpapibeez) August 21, 2016
If Andre 3000 say Drake trash, Drake trash.
Dem da rulez
— ⭐️Daq Bandicoot⭐️ (@DJKayyOhh) August 21, 2016
Watch Drake do a concert in Atlanta, bring Andre 3000 out and bow to him
— Apache Troop (@AmaniRJackson) August 22, 2016
drake got time to mention meek again but isn’t gonna speak on andre 3000 dissing him? ?
— some guy (@chrisfrmkro) August 22, 2016