When a rapper just can’t seem to push the pen behind their words much longer who are they going to call? A ghostwriter.
When the money doesn’t talk, they settle for the next best thing: a hat tip. Even though ghostwriting is seen as taboo in the hip-hop community, it often helps artists to tap into an undiscovered sound.
Not only do these individuals look beneath the surface of who they’re writing about, but they also tackle their subject’s conception and cadence to draft up bangers. Still, if anyone deserves to anonymously flex, it’s these ink-slingers.
From Quentin Miller, the not so Mr. Nice Guy towards his enemies to Brittany B., a Compton artist who goes above and beyond to learn about her subjects, here are seven lyrical poltergeists you should know about.
1. Quentin Miller
In a world full of small fries, the fans put in their 99 cents and conclude that Quentin Miller is a larger one. Amid the beef between Drake and Meek Mill, Atlanta based rapper Quentin Miller found himself dodging interviews once a reference track he recorded for Drake got released.
However, Quentin Miller wouldn’t say he’s a writer but more so his own artist. He and Drake just happened to be on the same wave. Likewise, Quentin Miller is 1/2 of the duo WDNG Crshrs.
Their discography comprises of the LP’s UTDinfiniti, CrshrsGotWings, Crshd Files Vol. 1 and their latest one — Crshd Files Vol. 2. Singularly, Quentin Miller is fond of carrying undefied confidence when speaking his piece.
He also speaks about the joys of fatherhood and those who throw dirt on his name. An example can be seen in his verse from “Go Off” by Surf Club:
“Third eye wide open, watching for the devil/Hit my daughter with a trip to Carter’s ‘fore I left her/Make sure when she go to daycare, she gonna look the freshest/Eating dinner with my niggas, feeling real boss/Shout out Complex Magazine, for that extra salt/Shout out 1317, I rep it ’til I’m gone/I had to go off, I had to go off/I found out I really am a star/In my own way, we ain’t listening to y’all.”
Check out more of Quentin Miller’s music here.
2. Pardison Fontaine a.k.a Pardi
This OG got his feet wet in the hip-hop game back in 2013 with his song “Oyyy!” but rose to ultimate-fame after he was ousted by a Twitter user who discovered a video of Pardison Fontaine rapping Cardi B’s “Be Careful” lyrics verbatim over the exact same beat.
Still, that didn’t matter. In fact, Cardi B and the NY rapper have been down since 2014. Cardi B even made sure to credit the songwriter alongside 17 others who were credited. His songwriting skills wouldn’t go unnoticed as Invasion of Privacy would go on to win a Grammy for Rap Album of the Year in 2019 and receive a nomination for Album of the Year as well.
Lowkey, on Twitter, he was also named ghostwriter on Kanye’s track “Violent Crimes.” Yeah, he wasn’t too happy about that… Still, it was all a part of the plan for Fontaine as he steps into hip-hop stardom. With tracks like “Backin’ It Up,” “Madden Flow” and his major deal with Atlantic Records the Newburgh rapper’s “debut-debut” album is bound to be straight memorable heat.
Check out more of Pardi’s music here.
On her grind or better yet, gizzle — this femcee is one who refuses to be silenced. Writing virile driven bangers for the likes of Lil Fizz, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, G-Eazy, T.I, Boosie Badazz, Diddy, Ty Dolla Sign and Travis Scott, Gizzle has learned how to pep talk those that she ghostwrites for.
She says that writing for others isn’t too hard because it’s for them and in their perspective. Whereas when she writes for herself it’s a checks-and-balance system. Often times when she puts the pen to her own pad she questions if it’s true to her and also if it’s really how she feels.
Grizzle grew up in South Central, L.A. Before Grizzle, she called herself Lady G Da Real Deal. At a young age, Gizzle would write poetry in the means of self-expression. Eventually, it transitioned into rapping and with the help of her godfather and legendary producer Teddy Riley, Gizzle was able to get her first big break in the music industry.
Gizzle’s music often speaks in the first person. It embarks on what she’s seen and learned throughout the years. She prides herself on being the scholar and the teacher. Better take notes, Gizzle’s class in session.
Check out more of Gizzle’s music here.
By all means, Valee will go and get it. He keeps everything in straps — the money, cars, even women. However, Valee first carried the weight of destiny on his shoulders once he took a detour and went to Guitar Center.
Shortly after Valee released a series of mixtapes which he said consisted of a cut, copy and paste pattern. Then in 2017, Valee garnered attention from Kanye West and signed to G.O.O.D Music. Like his label mates — he stays under the radar.
But one thing is certain, Valee’s placement in the rap game is for keeps. Aside from breaking the leash of common sound with hindered trap, he also co-wrote the song “All Mine” with PARTYNEXTDOOR and “I Was On The Block” by YG.
Check out more of Valee’s music here.
Daylyt comes at you like a shadow in the night. As he sends a chill down your spine with witty punchlines — Daylyt also makes sure that what he’s saying can be felt through the means of humor and relatability.
But for the MC, it’s all light work. He says there’s a method to his madness. The stunts came about after he went through a period of questioning life: Why we were here and what we were living for? Still — Daylyt’s biggest strength is keeping you on your toes. His antics mainly include dressing up as Batman or even Jesus. As quoted by Daylyt:
“I’m way out of my lane/They try to tell me I’m way outta my game.”
Daylyt started rapping in high school then because a regular at a rap battle spot called Mecca the Pit. Eventually, he went on to join the Krak City Crew with battle star Dizaster and AV LMKR.
After the three took over the battle rap scene but it all changed once Daylyt moved to Bernardino and got a job at Wal-Mart. At first, he felt as if his taunts didn’t belong in the rap game. Nevertheless, he kept making songs and eventually accepted a Grind Time invitation to battle.
Aside from just being a battle rapper, Daylyt places himself at hip-hops forefront. Some label him “mad” but that’s a term he’s come to accept. Rumor has it that Daylyt has also been the silent pen pusher for Drake.
In “Uncharged Up” he sends out a response track to Meek Mill and hasn’t confirmed or denied that he’s Drake in the scenario. Who’s to really say if it’s true or not. Daylyt always has something up his sleeve.
Check out more of Daylyt’s music here.
6. Brittany B
American Grammy Nominated singer, songwriter, and recording artist — Brittany B. is known for working with the likes of John Legend, Chrisette Michelle and Ledsi. However, she’s added one more person to her resume: Bhad Bhabie.
Born Brittany Chikyra Barber, Brittany B. got some clout in 2011 when she worked on Terrance Martin’s album Locke High 2 and co-wrote his track with Ty Dolla $ign called “Love.”
In 2014 and she signed a publishing deal with Spirit Music Group. Shortly after she helped write on Theophilus London’s song “Can’t Stop” featuring Kanye West. Even though Brittany B. wrote R&B tracks — she decided to delve into the field of hip-hop after being requested by Atlantic Record’s A&R, Aton Ben-Horin to collaborate with a new femcee at the time, Bhad Bhabie.
As time passed the two became close and Brittany B. solidified her place as Bhad Bhabie’s songwriter. She says after their third session, the A&R asked if she’d write more songs for Bhad Bhabie. She agreed and went to figure out more about the artist. For her, she likes to know everything as it helps Brittany to deliver a sound that’s true to the artist’s personality.
Nothing holds the two back and it’s all thanks to an exchange of good concepts with pure understanding.
Check out more of Brittany B.’s music here.
7. Sy Ari Da Kid
Known as Sy Ari Da Kid, the Brooklyn New York artist takes the role as a lyrical beast and well-known rapper. Once he moved to Atlanta, the state’s musical influences seemed to transcend within himself. By the time he turned 24 Sy Ari Da Kid had a business and was producing.
He’s worked with the likes of Roscoe Dash, Waka Flocka Even though Sy uses calm, heartfelt vocal play — Sy Ari Da Kid still keeps it intact when free flowing like the Zohar phase.
According to Sy Ari The Kid he likes to freestyle until he comes up with a good hook or a good start to a verse. He doesn’t like creating from scratch with other artists or producers. Ultimately he dictates his sound around personable stories, world awareness, and relationships — but Sy Ari Da Kid also speaks on living your best life because you only get one. Sy Ari has a rack of discographies.
His albums are S.O.O.N, The Heartbreak Kid 3, B4 The Heartbreak, 2 Soon, 2 Weeks Diss, Better Safe than Sy Ari, Emancipation Proclamation, and After the Heartbreak. He says the key to a full sound is open space.
If there’s no open space in the beat, then it’s more likely for someone’s sound to evolve. Ladies and kids should like it just as much as the streets. Besides this Sy Ari Da Kid also has taken on the producer role, once engineering for Roscoe Dash and Waka Flocka.
He is also signed to Cash Money and has collaborated with the likes of K Camp, Bryson Tiller, Timbaland, and Slim Dunkin. With or without a record he’s never changed and that’s why he’s respected. As stated in his line off of “We Them Niggas:”
“I’m workin’ through the week days, grindin’ on the weekend/See I don’t know Drake but I get hoes like The Weeknd.”
Check out more of Sy Ari Da Kid’s music here.