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7 poppin’ hip-hop ghostwriters who deserve your respect in 2019

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 geniuses every paper writer 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.

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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.

3. Gizzle

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.

4. Valee 

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.

5. Daylyt

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.


Gizzle, the LA songwriter behind some of your favorite hits, is going solo

There are several individual parts operating behind the scenes to create the music you love.

The most familiar pieces of the music recording process are the producer(s), an emcee, and the emcee’s posse. But, the secret component to the process is the ghostwriter.

An artist’s greatest fear is to be washed up and played out. Vibing with other artists is necessary to keep them afloat. One vibe session can create a snowballing effect that results in truly great art.

Think about it for a second. If you already found your sound, had hit records you wrote yourself, wouldn’t you want to hire someone that has bars to help your sound stay fresh? The ghostwriter serves as an inspiration to develop your sound in ways you would never have thought.


Did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel by himself? No, he didn’t. He had several assistants help make one of the greatest masterpieces in human history. So, just look at a ghostwriter in that fashion.

The best is when a ghostwriter has a particular sound that’s hot. Out of that heat a musical flower might sprout looking to break through the sod and join the other stars above the topsoil. An artist can help someone discover a new sound or a new perspective.

That artist is LA songwriter/rapper Gizzle. She’s ridiculously talented and helped write songs with the likes of Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Travis Scott, G-Eazy, and Nicki Minaj.

She now wants to break out into her own lane. Kulture Hub linked up with Gizzle in a phone interview to tap into her musical wisdom and the transition she’s making into her own artistry.

Peep this playlist featuring songs Gizzle help write:

You might not know it, but Gizzle has been in the game for some time now – over 10 years. She aspired to become the “best rapper ever” since the age of 12. Now at 28, she’s finally getting the platform she deserves.

The possibility of becoming a star didn’t cross her mind until labels caught wind of her while she was still in high school at the age of 16. Little did she know she would step into the lane of a songwriter.

It was her manager, Cudda Love that gave Gizzle the opportunity to possibly obtain the limelight from behind the curtain. This was meant to be her path and avidly reading up on the “game” kept Gizzle on her toes from becoming a record deal horror story.

Under her grandfather’s tutelage, she discovered a newfound understanding of what she wanted to accomplish. Her grandfather realized how great she was going to be and made her study the game. Gizzle learned to look at the game from the perspective of a student, she spoke of her grandfather’s prudence,

“It’s kept me from signing a record deal thus far (laughs). I think, my grandfather pushing my uncle and me to really study the industry before we dived in was really important. I think that’s how you should approach anything that you want to learn, be good at, or successful in. You should always approach it as a student first…”

Gizzle continued,

“I kind of apply that to every area of my life when I want to try something new. There are a lot of people that are experts in each industry for a reason. They laid a lot of the blueprint down for you. If you don’t take advantage of the knowledge that’s available you are really doing a disservice to yourself.”

Her studious attitude kept industry wolves at bay. Yeah, Gizzle knows what’s good. She knows what to look for, she understands the logic of the music deal, and no one will ever pull the wool over her eyes.

She’s definitely a seasoned artist for someone still so young. Gizzle mentioned a book which she is currently reading for the second time, All You Need to Know About the Music Business. She stressed that having a basic knowledge of the industry “makes a world of a difference.”

“All the horror stories of people signing bad deals. You would think those things don’t happen anymore, but they still do and the books are still around.”

Gizzle has always been infatuated with words and idioms. Growing up, she wrote poetry to express herself.

At around eight years old, while her father was in and out of jail, Gizzle would respond to her father’s seven-page letters.

Back then she didn’t realize it, but now she grasps how writing poetry and penning letters aided her in finding her voice and expressing herself creatively.


The support of her family and teachers confirmed her talent and as a kid she knew what she would be doing for the rest of her life.

“I’ve always had the support of whatever English teacher and all of my creative writing teachers. I’ve had some really, really, really good teachers who wouldn’t mind if I turned in a homework with raps on it or if I wasn’t paying attention because I was writing raps in class. I think that was confirmation along the way. It was with that and the support of my family I never second-guessed what I would do with my life once I decided.”

Time has allowed Gizzle to evolve into a very special artist. Although she’s from LA, her flow sounds so NY. Her music presents itself as raw, raspy, urban, and real.

Watch her lyrically flex in “Melanin”

All kinds of rapper’s flows have influenced her style. Jay-Z is her all-time favorite rapper. The LOX, Lil Wayne, and the east coast battle rapping era laid the framework of her genius. Gizzle “wanted to rap and learn the phonetics of rap and the different styles of lyricism.”

Missy Elliot’s attitude towards creativity, production, and songwriting helped her understand what it means to think outside of the box. Along with Elliot, Timbaland and Teddy Riley inspired Gizzle’s push for individuality.

Her godfather Teddy Riley helped Gizzle put her first demo together and is responsible for getting her in the industry.

The industry has done her a great favor. Opportunity presented its way through other artists. The knowledge Gizzle has gained from songwriting and collaborations is incredible.

Working with P. Diddy definitely had an impact on her music. She spoke on being in the same room with Puff, who she considers a big brother and mentor,

“Anytime you have a chance to just be in the room with Puff it’s a blessing. You are going to take away something, you’re going to leave more motivated with more belief in yourself…”

Gizzle continued,

“He doesn’t stop at good enough, always encouraging you to set the bar a little bit higher, to be a little bit better than before. He’s a little bit of a perfectionist. He has a lot of pride in what he does. Whatever he believes in he’s going to go hard for. It could be a project he’s working on, a company he’s working with, an artist he signed, his friends, his family. That’s what I’ll always take away from Puff – dedication, determination, and belief.”

Along with big brother Puff, is Ty Dolla $ign is another of Gizzle’s favorite collaborators. Gizzle loves working with the Taylor Gang artist. Every time they get in the studio issa vibe. Together they were able to knock out Dolla $ign’s part on Kanye West’s “Real Friends” in 20 minutes.


Vic Mensa is another rapper, Gizzle respects and loves to work with as well. She admires “the dedication to his craft.”

Gizzle has taken what she has learned from working with other artists and applied it to her own career. She’s stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight with an ingenious set of concept records. Her first solo music projects will be EPs made over the course of a week in different cities.

Each city she records in, Gizzle has a special connection to. Projects to come will be recorded in Atlanta, Philly, LA, and Denver. Atlanta to her is an epic hub for up and coming artists and it’s like a second crib to Gizzle.

She has had a deep love for Philly from when she was a child. LA is her hometown and Denver has a cultural art scene that took her breath away.

7 Days in Atlanta is the first of the four.

Although the series of EPs are for the fans, Gizzle looks at them in as “a way to stay creative and expansive.” She wants to immerse herself in the culture traveling, meeting people, and building a relationship with each city she visits.

Next year she plans on taking the 7-day projects worldwide. Mind you this is all while she readies her debut album.

Gizzle’s work ethic and dedication to her craft are truly unique. Her wisdom is one of a kind as she learns from others and studies her career has nowhere to go but up.

Before we ended our conversation she left a message for the all the youth dem,

“Save your money, work on your craft, do it every day, and be fearless. Be as fearless as you can be. The older you get in life you’ll start to perceive these obstacles that don’t exist and that might take some of your momentum. But stay focused on your goal. Once you decide what you want to do, just be steadfast in that. Anything you work on every day, you cannot get worse at, you will always get better. Opportunity comes when you work hard, are talented, and prepared. Just be prepared for whatever opportunity that will come.”

Stay fearless and focused and you can accomplish whatever it is you set out to achieve, word to Gizzle.

drake quentin miller

8 hit songs that were low key ghostwritten by other famous artists

The topic of ghostwriting can be a sensitive one.

Everyone knows about the whole Drake/Meek Mill saga when Meek found out Quentin Miller wrote Drake’s verse on Meek’s song “R.I.C.O.” and lost his shit on social media.

A few years ago, Kendrick Lamar spoke to Rolling Stone about the idea of ghostwriting in rap, saying that ghostwriting is fine and all, but it really depends on the art form you’re trying to express.

Kendrick said of ghostwriting:

“It depends on what arena you’re putting yourself in. I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there.”

I think Kendrick is probably right in this case.

Rap is all about what you say, rappers are judged off the content and quality of their bars. Whereas other genres, like pop music, are mostly defined by who is singing and how they’re saying it.

Huge pop artists are not criticized when they have a song written for them, that’s just part of the business.

It is interesting to see which popular artists write for other artists as a sort of side hustle.

Artists like Ne-Yo, The-Dream, Frank Ocean, and PartyNextDoor just have a particular knack for writing hit songs and that can be one hell of a profitable skill.

Here’s a list of hit songs written by other artists.

PartyNextDoor wrote Rihanna’s “Work”

PND has his own catalog of fire R&B, most of which he produced himself. Dude is a talent.

But the Toronto crooner also has a solid list of songs penned for other artists. Not only did he write “Work,” he also wrote “Sex With Me” for Rihanna, as well as “Preach” and “With You” for Drake, and DJ Khaled’s Jay-Z and Beyonce duet “Shining.”

But as for “Work,” PartyNextDoor didn’t write it as a club song and despite his own moniker, he has trouble writing “party songs.”

PND told Rolling Stone about writing party songs, specifically “Work”:

“I tried this year to make the party songs. It wasn’t in me. People think [“Work” is] a party song. It’s a breakup song. It’s blues. I went from braggadocious to blues.”

Rihanna damn sure turned it into a party song. Peep the reference track for “Work” below, I don’t care what he says, dude knows how to pen a hit.

Kanye West wrote Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name”

The lead single off Alicia Keys’ 2003 album The Diary of Alicia Keys was an absolute hit.

I’m sure many of you remember the music video, starring Mos Def as the love interest of Keys’ that doesn’t know her name.

Just goes to show Kanye’s ridiculous talent, spinning a sample of the song “Let Me Prove My Love To You” by The Main Ingredient and pairing it with Keys’ own piano skills.

The sample is vintage Kanye, but of course Alicia Keys was the exact right person for the track and her album would go on to win the Grammy for Best R&B Album.

Jay-Z wrote Dr. Dre’s verse on “Still D.R.E.”

For anyone that’s seen The Defiant Ones, Dr. Dre isn’t one to hide the fact that he has songs and verses written for him, his skills are suited to the production side.

So on “Still D.R.E.” Dre turned to Jay-Z to pen his verse.

When you listen to Dre’s verse, you can hear some Jay-Z trademarks laying out in plain sight.

We got an official Dre and Jay collaboration on “The Watcher 2” off The Blueprint 2.

Swae Lee wrote Beyonce’s “Formation”

As the story goes Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd was freestyling on the drive to Coachella and spit “O.K. ladies, now let’s get in formation,” and producer Mike Will stopped him. Mike Will told the New Yorker he knew they had something:

“I’m like, ‘Dog, we got to do that “get in formation” shit.’ That could be a hard song for the ladies. Some woman-empowerment shit. Like, ‘Ladies, let’s get in line, let’s not just fall for anything.’”

The song would become the lead single off Beyonce’s smash album Lemonade.

The-Dream wrote Rihanna’s “Umbrella”

The-Dream is one of those stars of the music world behind many of the hits of other artists.

One of the lead singles off Rihanna’s transformative 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad, “Umbrella” was actually initially written for Britney Spears, but her label wasn’t down.

Shouts out to that label for causing Rihanna to take “Umbrella” instead.

Peep the reference track from The-Dream above.

Otis Redding wrote Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”

The great Otis Redding initially wrote and recorded “Respect” in 1965 with some pretty different instrumentation.

Redding’s version had a very different tone, almost of desperation. When Aretha got her hands on the track, she spun it into a feminist anthem and a much bigger hit.

Both versions have their merits, but Aretha’s takes the cake as one of the greatest soul songs of all time.

Ne-Yo wrote Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”

Ne-Yo is one of the industry’s great pop writers. Ne-Yo gifted Beyonce with one of her biggest hits in “Irreplaceable.”

Just switch around some pronouns and you have a tailor-made hit.

Bruno Mars wrote Cee-Lo Green’s “F*ck You”

While this was a slightly collaborative effort, Mars wrote much of Cee-Lo Green’s 2010 smash-hit “F*ck You.”

Mars, while a massive star in his own right, also has quite the collection of songwriting credits including Adele’s “All I Ask,” Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire,” Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” and Flo Rida’s “Right Round.”

That’s quite the list.