As part of growing the Urban Sound Blog I am super excited to announce the addition of my friend and music producer on the rise, Philip “Pip” Kembo as the first guest blogger on USZA! To be honest, I was always planning on getting Pip to guest blog for many reasons but mainly because of his insight, experience and passion for all things music! Pip began experimenting with music production from a very early age and has been at it ever since. He recently managed to work with Grammy-winning Zimbabwean producer Brian Soko, (who made Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love”) and is currently based & making moves in the United States. You can expect everything from music industry insights, album reviews to songwriting pieces from him but do take some time out to checkout his music via the link below!
“Straight Outta Compton” written by Pip Kembo
As I was watching Straight Outta Compton (incredible movie in case you haven’t seen it lol), something bothered me quite deeply. Beyond the drugs, sex and rock n roll lifestyle, I found myself thinking: “Easy E didn’t write his own raps”?!!….If I may add a little context to the situation, I watched the movie while the back and forth between Drake and Meek Mill was happening. My thought process went a little something like this:
Meek Mill is accusing Drake of not writing his own raps -> Easy E is widely considered as one of the greatest hip hop icons ever, but he openly didn’t write his own raps -> when did not writing your own raps become an issue??
I found it pretty staggering that somewhere along the way, it became a pre-requisite for a rapper to write their own raps, as if this was the only screw upon which their authenticity and craftsmanship hung. Granted I can see where the authenticity (or lack thereof) debate finds its power, but some of the most authentic hip hop musicians clearly didn’t write ALL of their raps, and hip hop didn’t seem to have a problem with it.
This got me thinking about other genres and their icons. For example, Michael Jackson didn’t write “Human Nature”, does this make him any less authentic or any less of a talent? It is almost as though other genres have a reverence for songwriters and the craft in a way that has seemed to evade rap music of late. Music has always been a collaborative effort, to expect one person to always be responsible for all the lyrics is an awfully high precedent to set and quite frankly unrealistic. Does one enjoy “Uptown Funk” any less because it was written by more than one person? Does it bother anyone that Adele’s “Hello” was co-written?
My point is that in other genres it seems that the song is king. The final output and its quality is all that matters, and it most certainly isn’t a prerequisite for the song to be a one-man show. I appreciate that rappers are synonymous with their penmanship, but I don’t think that writing with others makes you any less of a good writer. Many of the best writers co-write, some others don’t, but Straight Outta Compton has me wondering if this should matter either way?