AUGUST 29--With Miami Beach cops trying to figure out who just put a slug in Suge Knight's leg, perhaps it's time for the New York Police Department to update its comprehensive rap music dossier.
The 500-page NYPD investigative report contains rap sheets, mug shots, and incident reports on many of hip-hop's biggest stars (below you'll find excerpts from the confidential NYPD dossier). Apologies on the reproduction of some mug shots--our copy of the police dossier is sketchy in places.
Our favorite documents are the NYPD reports recounting instances when the rappers themselves called the cops to report crimes.
The practice of ghostwriting is one of rap's biggest taboos, and yet many of its greatest hits were ghostwritten. The song in question was Rapper's Delight, which became the genre's first commercial hit, bringing Hip Hop - then a largely counter-culture movement - out of the ghetto and into the mainstream. Perhaps the speed of events overtook Big Bank Hank, but for Grandmaster Caz, it still rankles.
And big money inevitably changed more than just the suits in the so-called "shiny-suit" era of the mid-90s. The need for invisibility means that ghostwriters aren't always listed on the album credits or given royalties, and instead are often paid one-off fees for their work. Certainly, collaborations with ghostwriters can be fruitful and allow rappers to flex a different kind of muscle.
This makes it hard to believe that Kool G Rap was a ghostwriter for the female rapper Roxanne Shante and the all-female Hip Hop group Salt-N-Pepa. The Zika virus may be even more dangerous than previously thought, affecting the babies of up to 20% of pregnant women who contract it, scientists in Brazil tell the BBC. Hip Hop producer and rapper Pharrell Williams never seems to age even though he is an unbelievable 40 years of age!


New York duo, Da YoungFellaz, have returned with a new track just in time for Valentine’s Day. Some profiles were prepared by the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program.
Busta, for instance, once needed help when his baby mommy attacked him and pulled hair out of his head. So who are Hip Hop's ghostwriters and what place do they have in a style of music built on speaking from the heart?
Iandoli suggests that because of this, it's difficult to know exactly how much ghostwriting goes on. Hailing from the infamous Corona neighbourhood in Queens, Nathanial Wilson, better known as Kool G Rap, became famous for his violent lyrics depicting the reality of the criminal underworlds of the late 1980s. 50 Cent reported three separate assaults, during which he was shot, stabbed, punched in the head, and clobbered with a tire iron. In most genres of music, including Soul, R&B and Pop, being a songwriter is a legitimate career, but in Hip Hop, writing for another rapper has long been something to hide. As part of the Mighty Force group, perhaps Big Bank Hank did feel ownership over some of the lyrics. It was Chuck D from Public Enemy who described rap as "CNN for black people." Emerging from the poverty and deprivation of New York's South Bronx neighbourhood in the 1970s, rap gave the voiceless a voice. In the 1999 documentary The Hip Hop Years, Big Bank Hank said he understood Grandmaster Caz's frustration. Publishing credits with certain artists are not being handed out because of the street credibility," she says. Instead of hustling drugs, he used his business skills to sell music - Bricks to billboards, grams to Grammys.


That kind of exchange of money without the proper documentation is what exists nowadays."In 2012 one of the most highly regarded lyricists in Hip Hop - Nas - was accused of using other people help write his rhymes.
Artists like that are one in a million." Miller suggests ghostwriting is becoming less of a taboo, but it's still a concealed industry, which leaves it open to exploitation.
But some of the stuff was done together and I just transposed it over." Kathy Iandoli, music editor for the website Hip Hop DX, says ghostwriting in rap can be "anything from shouting a word or two in the studio, to legitimately writing a whole song" and it's this murky area that creates tension and rumours - who really wrote that lyric? It's fine when people are being credited for their work, he says, "but when the real talent is being hidden in the broom closet while the performer is out there entertaining guests at the house party, that's a little shady." Some mainstream rappers hang on to the tradition of writing their own lyrics. In the early days, the only thing at stake was a rapper's street credibility, but as Hip Hop gained more currency there was a fortune to be made. My friends, people I meet on the street… somebody will say something that sparks something in me so I get it from everybody," he said on Power 106 FM.
But according to the BBC's DJ Semtex collaboration is not only something that artists do all the time, it's actually a good thing.
Teenagers like Grandmaster Caz held street parties, each with their own sound system, in which MCs (Masters of Ceremonies) tried to out-do each other to impress.
It's you being smart as an MC, it's you constructing other people's opinions, getting their contributions and turning it into a banger," he says.



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