Hip-Hop Critic Dream Hampton Says She Is ‘Done With Hip-Hop’


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:

[Source] [Source]

  • Diva

    A lot of rappers use ghostwriters. That’s not surprising. There are so many other things she could call out hip hop artist on but she choose to talk about Nas using a ghostwriter. Nas is one of the few artist that actually raps about social issues and not just money, cars, and girls. I bet she wouldn’t call out her “good friend” Jay Z who talks about NOTHING but his money or calling his own wife a b**tch.

    • Shannon

      Diva, thanks for weighing in on this. The way I see it, this is one incident. dream hampton (as she makes a point of saying in her note) has called out many-a-rapper including Jay-Z. And she calls them out for all types of ish. I don’t even necessarily think she was trying to make Nas look bad (though I could be wrong), I thought she was trying to acknowledge what you said– that it’s common for rappers (including some of our favorites) to use ghostwriters.

  • Diva

    I personally have never read anything where she has called out Jay for the things he talks about (I could be wrong). It always seems like if anyone questions what he does she defends him till the end (especially on Twitter). I’m just not understanding why she needed to point out that Nas uses a ghostwriter.

    • Shannon

      Hey Diva, I’m not saying dream doesn’t play favorites (I’m sure she does) but in her statement she mentions calling Jay out on his ‘hyper-capitalism.’ I also saw a tweet recently where she critiqued him as a rapper, ofte unable to hold onto a single thought for a whole song.

      But I should say that she didn’t come out of nowhere and make that statement. It was a response to a question (I’m putting it in the post for clarification). And she then went on to say that Nas is one of her favorites, one of the best writers of this generation, etc. But at some point he (like all writers) might have had a block.

  • ugo

    dream is one of the most manipulative, insecure, and insane adult women walking the planet. her compulsive need for attention while playing the victim makes her the laughing stock of the industry. the only people who her are people who don’t know her.