Rapper Nicki Minaj performs onstage during TIDAL X: 1020 Amplified by HTC at Barclays Center of Brooklyn; Lil Wayne performs onstage during the 2019 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park; Andre 3000 of Outkast performs during Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for TIDAL; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Poetic Justice: 4 Lyrically-Inclined Musical Geniuses Who Write Their Own Raps

Ghostwriters are a staple in hip-hop these days — but there are some artists who still actually write their own lyrics. Read for more!


Jan. 4 2024, Published 5:22 p.m. ET

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Hip-hop heads have long debated about what the rise of ghostwriters means when it comes to the rap game.

Traditionally, the authenticity of an artist's voice has been an important factor in defining one's true talent. Many argue that to be considered one of the greats, a rapper has to write and perform their own bars.

Although it's unlikely that ghostwriters will ever go extinct, there are a few rappers who take pride in their pens. These four rappers actually write their own lyrics!

Lil Wayne

lil wayne rappers who write their raps
Source: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Lil wayne performing on stage during the HipHop50 Live concert

Lil Wayne is an iconic rap figure who is revered for his genius approach to writing music.

Throughout his career, he has often described his writing process in interviews and how it has defined his career and legacy so far.

In a 2023 interview, he stated that Jay-Z inspired him not to write down lyrics. Wayne said that the last time he wrote down his lyrics with a pen and paper was when he released his mixtape 10,000 Bars over two decades ago.

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Known as one of the best rappers alive, Jay-Z is an icon in the rap industry.

The Brooklyn native has achieved the highest levels of success and his career has been defined by his ability to string together double entendres and craft intricate verses that resonate with a diverse audience.

Pharrell previously described Hov's writing style to Mark Ronson on Uncovered.

"When he writes, he’s just sitting there mumbling to himself — in falsetto, by the way. Yo, when he writes a rhyme, he doesn’t go, ‘Chyea! When the Remy’s in the system.’ He doesn’t do that," Pharrell said.

Jay-Z has also penned songs for other rappers and was the mastermind behind Dr. Dre's memorable "Still D.R.E."

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Andre 3000

Although Andre 3000 recently shared with GQ that he has chosen to delve into other artistic expressions outside of rap, he is still considered one of the most talented rappers ever. As a veteran of the genre, Andre has been known to write his own lyrics, and in his interlude on Frank Ocean's "Solo," he references other rappers not writing their verses by stating:

"After twenty years in, I'm so naive / I was under the impression that everyone wrote they own verses / It's comin' back different and, yeah, that s--t hurts me / I'm hummin' and whistlin' to those not deserving / I've stumbled and lived every word, was I working just way too hard?"

Unsurprisingly, many veteran rappers have this worldview about new-age rappers who don't write their own raps.

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Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj has frequently been vocal about how important it is for rappers to write their own bars. The New Yorker, who is responsible for some of the most noteworthy rap songs and collaborations in the past decade, is passionate about her craft and has frequently spoken out about other rappers who do not write their own work.

"But just know, even when it’s no longer ‘trendy’ to write your raps I will always write my own," the rapper said in a 2018 comment. "Even if it means not being able to drop as frequently as I want to, I will never go out like that! I’m proud of my brain. I hold my own with all the men in this game."

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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