This was in today's Coolfer. I figured I'd just post the whole thing here so that everybody got a chance to see it. It brings up some points that I really didn't consider when I drunkenly, and on a whim, came up with this idea. The dude might actually not be eligible for at least one of these categories. How does The Recording Academy actually go about making sure these people write these songs, or do they even bother?
Blogger Byron Crawford is urging people to sign his petition to get Kanye removed from all Grammy ballots. There's even a press release at mi2n. Kanye is nominated for "Album of the Year," "Song of the Year," "Best Rap Solo Performance" and seven others.
Here's an excerpt:
"Two categories in which he was nominated were Song of the Year and Best Rap Song for 'Jesus Walks,' a song he bought from an Indianapolis-based MC named Rhymefest and re-recorded. While it is true that Rhymefest was given a songwriting credit and nominated for two awards along with West, we do not feel that it is appropriate for The Recording Academy to reward this kind of behavior, especially in light of statements he has made with regard to his capabilities as an artist and the fact that he rarely acknowledges the fact that he buys a lot of 'his' music from other artists."
So the issue here is not that Kanye has bought songs from songwriters. This happens all the time in the music world and a few hundred times a day in Nashville, no doubt. The issue at hand is that Kanye, according to Crawford, bought the song "Jesus Walks" from Chicago MC Rhymefest and tried to pass it off as a collaboration.
The question at hand is whether or not Kanye actually deserves songwriting credit, which would impact the category of his nomination. The notes in College Dropout say Kanye officially splits songwriting credits with C. Smith (Rhymefest). According to Grammy rules, the "Song of the Year" award is given to the songwriter, while the "Record of the Year" is given to the artist and producer, engineer and mixer.
If "Jesus Walks" was indeed ghostwritten, then technically Kanye should not receive songwriting credit and should not have received the "Song of the Year" nomination. Technically. Correct? (Any entertainment lawyers reading this, please feel free to pitch in.) The thing about ghostwriting, often called music's "dirty little secret," is that the real writer is hidden while the purchaser takes full credit. In this case, Kanye is taking only partial credit. And ghostwriting is so common, would the Academy be likely to go by the book with its rules and nomination process?
More on ghostwriting:
• Here a definition of a ghostwriter from Film Music Magazine:
"A person who composes music for another composer but is not credited
on the cue sheet or in the final product in any way. In a ghostwriting
situation, the person hiring the ghostwriter takes credit for writing
the music and the ghostwriter is usually not allowed to reveal to
anyone that he/she wrote the music or worked on the project in any way."
• The blog Move The Crowd on ghostwriting and hip hop.
• Ghostwriting is commonplace in the literary world, as evidence by the title of this how-to book: Write A Book Without Lifting A Finger.