Hip-hop and classical music share a dirty secret

by birtanpublished on July 2, 2020

Ghostwriting is an open secret in hip-hop
If you're watching this show, there's a good

chance you know that Eminem wrote for Dre,
that Jay-Z wrote for Dre, that Nas wrote for

Diddy, that Nas wrote for Will Smith, that
Jay Electronica maybe wrote for Nas? Well,

it turns out classical music has it worse

Mamoru Samuragochi [MAH-MAH-ROO SAM-ER-AH-GOO-TCHI]
was considered the Japanese Beethoven Completely

deaf since the age of 35, Samuragochi composed
his best-known works in silence — including

"Symphony Number 1 Hiroshima" and the soundtracks
for Onimusha and Resident Evil

But it was recently revealed that Samuragochi
hasn't written any of the works attributed

to him for the last 18 years — and his ghostwriter,
Takashi Niigaki [TAH-KAH-SHEE NEH-GAH-KEE],

alleges that he is not even deaf Why open
up now? Olympic figure skating

Daisuke Takahashi [DIE-SOO-KEY TAH-KAH-HA-SHI]
was set to compete in the Sochi Olympics using

a Samuragochi composition Niigaki feared
embarrassment for his country and a hard-working

Olympian So he narc'd on Samuragochi — and
ensured his place amongst a long list of music's

greatest posuers

Milli Vanilli — the high water mark of faking
it They won a Grammy for Best New Artist

in 1990, and by the end of the year we all
knew they weren't even the voices on their

own album

So we tend to associate these kinds of goofs
with pop artists — or rappers, who regularly

employ ghostwriters But what Samuragochi
revealed is that the suit and tie crowd is

just as full of shit as anyone else

Fritz Kreisler was like the Justin Bieber
of early 20th century violinists And a huge

part of his act was performing "lost classics"
by composers like Vivaldi that he had supposedly

discovered travelling through Europe

Kreisler passed off at least 16 of his compositions
as "lost classics" It goes on – a Mozart

concerto was revealed as not actually a Mozart
concerto in 1977 In 1995, some guy had six

of his keyboard sonatas published as lost
works of Joseph Haydn

The question obviously becomes — does this
matter? Like, at all? If you loved a fake

Vivaldi joint, why would you care if it was
fake? If you like to jam to "Girl You Know

It's True," should the drama behind the curtain
bother you? So what if Jay-Z wrote Dre's verses

on "Still DRE?" Dre is busy

No one expects authenticity from pop music
— as an audience, we accept a level of casual


But hip-hop is different Authenticity is
critical — and what's we're willing to accept

from moguls like Dre, or Diddy, doesn't go
Nas — who ghostwrote for Will Smith and was

then accused of using ghostwriters himself
Weirdly, the closest analog here is classical

music — and Samuragochi is just the latest

By the way, while Samuragochi became one of
Japan's most infamous composers, the guy writing

all his music made about $75 thousand over
18 years Drag What do you think? Does ghostwriting

diminish the value of a song? How similar
are the culture of hip-hop and classical?

Let us know in the comments and be sure to
subscribe for new episodes of This Exists

every week For the record, I still have love
for the streets, also

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