Detroit-born dream hampton is a writer, filmmaker and lover/critic of all things hip-hop. She grew up as a neighbor and friend to the Notorious B.I.G., and filmed the late rapper for a documentary filmmaking class. She was the first woman editor at The Source and she co-wrote Jay-Z‘s New York Time‘s bestseller, Decoded, and now contributes to his blog Life + Times (where she recently shared an open letter of thanks to Frank Ocean). She’s written for a million other places and has a new article on NPR (My American Dream Sounds Like The White Stripes) that I can’t wait to dive into. To say the least, I am crazy jealous of this woman and owe much of my early interest in hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon (ripe for feminist or womanist critique) to her work, and the work of her colleagues, like Tricia Rose (Black Noise) and Joan Morgan (When Chickenheads Come Home To Roost). This is why it was very surprising and saddening to read that she was ‘done with hip hop’ on her tumblr, in reaction to recent critiques about statements she made, where she claimed that many of Nas‘s lyrics were ghostwritten. Deets inside.
So here’s how it all went down. dream recently tweeted to a follower that Nas‘s Nigger album was “largely written by Stic of dead prez and Jay Electronica” and all hell broke loose (on twitter). But really, people were flipping out, mainly on dream hampton, as if it’s unheard of that a rapper would have a ghostwriter or something. And as a huuuuuge fan of dead prez, I thought her statement was completely believable (even though Stic has denied it).
Anyway, people were literally sending this woman death threats and all sorts of unnecessary ridiculousness. She also got caught up in a twitter beef with super-producerJust Blaze. Just Blaze has since deleted the tweets (which he said were misunderstood as threats against dream), but Complex has them here.
At any rate, here is dream‘s message from her tumblr:
I began my writing career calling out Dr Dre for his misogyny. My friendship with Jay Z began when I reviewed Reasonable Doubt and called Jay out for his hyper-capitalism . I was not ‘calling out’ Nas by telling the truth about dpz writing whole bars (ne songs) on Untitled. I was telling a truth to someone who thought Nas’ most radical verses were his own. They were not. I’m unsurprised that these men have circled around their lie. I’m unmoved by the misogynist threats I’m receiving in open forums (last night Just Blaze tweeted I should be “bled out”). But I am done. I may not be done talking about this (unsubscribe to my feed if you like, I reserve the right to block who the fuk I want), but I am done with hip hop and men who collude to silence women. And done with women who are happy they’re not me. Don’t worry. You could never be.
Now, based on the tweets, I think dream hampton did misunderstand Just Blaze, but I can also see why she’d assume that he was talking/tweeting ish since hella other people were.
I’m glad dream is taking a stand, but this is exactly why we need her in the hip-hop sphere!
What do you guys think of all this? Essentially, dream got ganged up on and she’s not having it. While I don’t want her to leave the business and art of hip-hop alone, I appreciate her movement and look forward to hearing more from her… especially since she did note that she ‘may not be done talking about this.‘
Oh, and here are the tweets that started it all:
I think Jay writes what he believes. Nas’ “Nigger” album was largely written by Stic of dead prez and Jay Electronica
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) August 13, 2012