Nicki Minaj and Lauryn Hill are making headlines this week and it has to do about how authentic they are in being true to themselves in their music.
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(WWETV REPORT) We look at this week’s drama with some of the biggest female rappers in history being under attack about either stealing or music or not writing their lyrics. Lauryn Hill gets accused of stealing the music that help create one of the biggest albums ever and Nicki Minaj finally addresses the allegations by her ex boyfriend Safaree that he wrote her lyrics.
Robert Glasper took Lauryn Hill to the Gates of Hell in a recent interview as you can see the transcript below:
The Mad Hatta Morning Show on 97.9
I’ll say a name. You ready? Lauryn Hill.
Host: Why you do Lauryn Hill like that?
No. Why she do me like that? I did a show with Lauryn…this was 2008, I guess. It was for Montblanc Jewelry Corporation. She’s getting half a million dollars for this show. It’s a 20 minute show. My friend was the MD (musical director). He said ‘Rob, we’re doing a show in LA. You want to do this show?’ Mind you, two years prior she had been calling me trying to get me to come to her house to audition. I’m already a signed artist. I’m traveling the world doing my own thing. I don’t do auditions. So I was like ‘Sorry, I don’t do auditions. If you want me, you can listen to my album.’
She was calling me talking about ‘Can you play for me over the phone?’ No I’m not doing that. I’m like, ‘No but I do have albums out. Number one Jazz albums on the charts. If you like, you can check those out. I’m not auditioning. I’m not.
So then my boy’s like, ‘Yo Lauryn has a show in New York, do you want to play?’ So I said, ‘What’s the deal?’ He’s like, ‘We’re rehearsing for one week for a 20 minute show.’ So we rehearse a whole week, like 10 hours a day. Every day she comes in and changes the show, changes what she wants to do. Completely.The last rehearsal, she doesn’t show up. Her manager comes in and says, ‘Lauryn’s not really feeling the way you guys have been learning the music so we’re going to cut your pay in half. The last rehearsal. The day before the show. First of all, we weren’t getting paid that much anyway but understand she’s getting half a million dollars. So seriously? You’re going to take these five musicians and cut their pay in half.
Host: Do you feel like y’all were messing up though?
Not at all. It was a superband.
She has a thing of—she likes to fire bands. I can name you—I can rattle off 15 guys off the top of my head. She will go on tour with a band and in the city that they’re doing a show, she’ll hold auditions for her band. One of my boys flew to Japan to do shows in Japan. While she’s in Japan, she’s holding auditions in the hotel, in the ballroom for her band. That’s super gangsta! And nothing’s wrong. The bands are good. She gets the best musicians. She just has a thing.
Anyway, the last rehearsal they go around to everybody, basically like ‘If you’re not cool, you can leave.’ I didn’t need that gig. I’m making money of my own. I have my own career at that time. I was eating a beef patty, I’ll never forget it. And I said, ‘When I finish my beef patty, I’m going home so y’all can do what y’all need to do.’
But look, I’m the principle piano player. I know they need me. The gig’s tomorrow. So I’m like, I’m going home. I walk out. The manager runs— first of all, before she even came in, the MD, my friend said, ‘Just so you know, don’t look her in the eye and you have to call her Ms. Hill.
Host: So those rumors be true?
That’s 100 percent true.
One of the days at rehearsal, she said, ‘Robert, I need you to…’ and I said, ‘Ok Lauryn.’ Respect, I respect. You can’t come into a situation especially when you’ve already stolen all of my friends’ music. Miseducation was made by great musicians and producers that I know, personally. So you got a big hand off of music that you didn’t even write. You feel me though?
Host: Robert, you know she gon’ hear this?
100 percent. I’m ready. I don’t care because nothing I’m saying is a lie. Point to me where the lie is, then we can have a conversation. But if she looks at it, it’s 100 percent true— that’s why they got their money.
Host: That’s why she rearranges the music on the tour, right?
Yes! All kinds of stuff. I went into it knowing, ‘Okay, you steal music.’
Host: Who steals music?
Lauryn Hill. I’ve met Stevie Wonder and hung out with Stevie Wonder. I’ve met Quincy Jones and hung out with Quincy Jones. I’ve met Herbie Hancock, hung out with Herbie Hancock. If those three people can be cool, Lauryn Hill should be able to be cool. You haven’t done enough to be the way you are. The one thing you did that was great, you didn’t do… I’m out here.
She took the credit for making the classic album. Those songs were written by other people and they did not get their credit. She likes to take credit so she can become this super person. If you’re a super person and you’re that talented…
Host: …Do it again.
Do it! You feel me? She couldn’t tune her guitar in rehearsal. We were in rehearsal, she had my boy Benji tune her guitar.
She would come into rehearsal and say, ‘Benji, guitar.’ And just hold it out like this. And he would run and tune her guitar.
So anyway I leave rehearsal, I’m eating my beef patty, they run after me to the middle of the street. And they said, ‘What can we do?’ I said ‘ Before 4 o’clock you can wire all of my money into my account because now I don’t trust y’all. So if you want me to do this gig, you need to wire my money into my account within 30 minutes. That’s what you can do.’ So I waited. They wired the money into my account and then I went home. I didn’t do the other rehearsal because they already disrespected to me. But I came back for the show the next day.
Host: How did the show go?
It was great. It was 20 minutes.
But I will say this, there was one joyous moment that week. There’s a song called “Doo Wop.” So one day, she was just being a real…you know. So instead of doing “Doo Wop,” I went [opening chords for "Joyful, Joyful.”] She looked at me and sang a verse and a chorus of “Joyful, Joyful.” And then she looked at me and said, ‘Okay back to the…’ So for a minute and a half, we got the Lauryn…she normalized and became—so it’s in there. I really feel like she’s in there.
Something happened. People can change. I’m not sh*tting on her forever. But that’s the stuff that really happened and you’re going to have to take accountability for it at some point and then you’re good.
People can change. I hope she does change. She disrespected a lot of people. A lot of people. A lot of musicians with families.
These accusations by Glasper are not the first time they have been circulated in the music industry. In 1998, the artist behind Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was under pressure on the eve of The Grammy Awards received a lawsuit by a collective of musicians called New Ark in a U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., claiming they deserved a share of songwriting or production credit on 13 of the album’s 14 songs–and, of course, a sizable chunk of the profits generated by the album, which has sold 2.4 million copies to date.
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The album credits say the album is “produced, written and arranged” by Hill, and she is also listed as executive producer on all the tracks. The New Ark members–Vada Nobles, Rasheem “Kilo” Pugh and twin brothers Johari and Tejumold Newton–are acknowledged several times for “additional production,” “additional musical contribution” and “additional lyrical contribution” on some songs.
“Nothing Really Matters” and “Everything Is Everything,” are the two main songs that they are making major claims and said they were big contributors on six others. Full or partial production credit is also due to the team on five tracks was on the suit. The musicians also claim to have made sizable, uncredited production contributions to “A Rose Is Still a Rose,” a song Hill produced for Aretha Franklin’s last album.
The details of that lawsuit, which reportedly settled for $5 million, never fully surfaced. Some believe Hill caved despite her legal representation’s objections in order to put an end to a tumultuous fight.
Meanwhile, her skeptics claimed she should have given those musicians co-songwriting and production credit on 13 of the album’s 14 tracks (the liner notes state that Hill was the sole songwriter on 12 tracks). Few know what truly happened, but it the tussle cast a shadow on her musical legacy.
Meanwhile, rap’s other top female artist Nicki Minaj had to heat up Funk Flex when he asked her about the ghostwriter allegations pertaining to her ex boyfriend Safaree. She was adamant about the history of women in rap and getting proper recognition for their contributions. You can watch the full interview here.