Rhymefest Says He Wrote a Lot of Kanye West’s Lyrics

Rhymefest Says He Wrote a Lot of Kanye West’s Lyrics

But he didn't get credit.

Published October 22, 2015

Kanye West might too busy to write his own raps.                       

In a Daily Beast interview promoting the documentary In My Father’s House, Rhymefest (West’s longtime co-writer and friend) went on the record about the 21-time Grammy winner using ghostwriters.

“I think sometimes people get to a point where they’re so busy — ‘I’m doing fashion, I’m doing this, I’m doing that’ — that you lose focus with the foundation of what it is,” he said, easing into the subject. “I think sometimes we… we have so many things, that we’re just trying to keep our things, so we lose track of the fact that it wasn’t about the things. You shouldn’t be trying to keep the things, you should be trying to make new things.”  

CLICK HERE FOR POISON PEN: WHEN GHOSTWRITERS STRIKE

West is known to call on co-writers, sometimes dozens, for a single song. Rhymefest attests to writing on all of West’s albums, except 808s & Heartbreaks. "There are a lot of songs that my name isn’t even on."

Songwriting hasn't been paying Rhymefest very well, even with the Oscar-winning song “Glory” that he co-penned with Common and John Legend. He wasn’t on stage when the duo accepted the award and didn't get mentioned.

“It does kind of bother me that I go to my friends’ $20 million houses, and last year I was trying to figure out how to pay my mortgage. It’s not their fault, totally. When you look at the way artists get paid now, streaming has decimated the income of the writer, so the writer doesn’t really have a career anymore. My ASCAP royalty checks went from a lot to almost nothing.

“But the love that I’ve grown for Common,” he continued. “I want Common to be successful forever, because he has a good heart.” 

Another Chicago rapper Rhymefest spoke on was Chief Keef, who he says is autistic.

"I think many rappers these days have afflictions, such as Asperger’s, bipolar disorder, or autism. They need advocates, but we turn it into entertainment," he explained. "The media is turning autism into entertainment. When I look at Chief Keef, I clearly see someone who has autism. Look at the way his face is structured, or his insensitivity to violence. He needs an advocate. But someone put him out there and exploited that child."  

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(Photos form Left: Brad Barket/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Written by Latifah Muhammad

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