Nickelus F On Working With Drake, Ghostwriting, and ‘TRIFLIN’
"At the end of the day, it's about good music. That's what the fans want."
speaking tweeting about Drake’s Atlanta-based ghostwriter has fueled the ever-fiery discussion on what constitutes originality in hip hop, which ultimately garners an emcee respect. It’s no secret that some craft their own sound while others seek help. Despite other rappers’ disdain for outsourcing material, artists like Nickelus F, who worked with Drake way before Thank Me Later, sees the value in what is perceived as ghostwriting. When we spoke to the Virginia wordsmith and producer, he had no problem keeping it a stack about the current ghostwriting spats and how they affect his upcoming project, TRIFLIN’.
Mass Appeal: You spoke about giving Drake bars, so would you consider yourself a former ghostwriter of Drake at this point?
Nickelus F: No, I am not a former ghostwriter for Drake. He’s immensely talented and personal in his music. The depths that he goes to in his personal reflection can’t be written by anyone else. And it’s his personal honest moments that people love him for the most. i.e. “The Calm.”
On Twitter, you made a good point about ghostwriting not really making a difference when the artist already has a core fan base that can’t be swayed. However, it doesn’t seem odd when rappers who pride themselves on being the best out, get help for their bars?
If you’re battle rapping, yes it matters. Look at Prez Mafia—only battle rap followers will understand that reference. But in terms of entertainment, it’s been proven that it doesn’t matter. People connect with the person you are. I feel like fans nowadays aren’t as concerned with if the person is a good writer. Only other writers care about that. Look at it like this: Quentin Tarantino makes extraordinary films and in general receives all the credit for the movies. But do you think he sat down and wrote that script word for word? Of course he didn’t. Does it matter? Of course not. We love the movies anyway, and we call them Quentin Tarantino movies. That analogy pertains specifically to the question of if ghostwriting matters, not if Drake has a ghostwriter, because I can’t speak on what I don’t know.
TRIFLIN’ is on the way, which we’ve been waiting on for a while. How far is the project from dropping, and is all the attention tempting you to drop the project now?
TRIFLIN’ is right around the corner. It’s complete. Soon as it’s uploaded everywhere it’s going out. There were a shitload of hold-ups, data recovery, computer replacements, etc. that hindered me from getting this project out earlier, but it’s finally here and I’m excited. And to be honest, yes I am tempted to put the album out at this exact moment since everyone is looking this way. But I won’t. I never really liked opportunists, they never came across as genuine, but always came across as corny. Fuck daht.
How do you feel about the effects of outing a ghostwriter and the pending lack of work that will follow because of the negative stigma attached to ghostwriting in rap?
For ghostwriting in general, I support it. At the end of the day, it’s about good music. That’s what the fans want. I don’t care who’s in the studio with Kanye tossing out one-liners and what not. Kanye sells that shit and is the orchestrator of it all. And on top of that, he’s in my top 5. Along with Jay, MF DOOM, Raekwon, and Future Hendrix. But not everyone has the voice, or personality, or look, or opportunity to “make it big.” There are a lot of talented writers out here who don’t have access to good production, or the proper vision to bring a project together correctly. But everybody needs to eat right?
And just to throw this in…yall can’t go questioning Drake’s pen when he says he was ready to battle Mook. Annnnd on top of that, Drake’s pen game is way crazier than Meek’s.